Seems like we all juggle lots of things: kids schedules with sports, practices, dr appointments, work responsibilities, relationship stuff, . . . the hustle, bustle & rustle of everyday living.
In all of these things, let’s be mindful to nurture in our hearts our relationship with Jesus. Lots of things want your attention so we must daily chose to fellowship with Jesus beyond the quickie “help!!!” requests. While these are important & good, our hearts are designed for deep fellowship with Jesus so lets yield to our design & align our values, focus & time to nurture the deeps with Jesus!
Have you ever struggled to pray because of various distractions? This morning happened to be one of those times for me & that can be really frustrating because if you’re like me, you really want to pray! So perhaps I can give you a few ideas that could be helpful:
tell God that you’re having a hard time praying because of the various distractions. I say something like this, “God, I really want to pray right now, but I’m having a hard time because I find myself to be distracted with all kinds of things, some things important & some things not so much.”
sometimes I will write down what those distractions are – maybe making a to-do list, or briefly writing out the various things about which I’m concerned
take a pause and listen / wait – often after I do the first 2 things above, it gets easier for me to pray, listen and to be more present with God than the various distractions
don’t get way frustrated with yourself – commit to have some prayer time in your life everyday so that on those few days that seem to filled with distractions, you can be certain that there will also be some totally amazing times with God that will be nothing short of glorious – all realtionships can have some ups & downs
sometimes it helps me to review a verse or passage from the Bible that has seemed to really capture my attention & thoughts – in these times, I give myself to exploring this verse or passage with God & I find these times to be particularly rich with God’s presence
Several years ago, I took a lesson in mountain biking and I learned REALLY quickly that where you focus is where you go. I watched this happen with 2 of my mtn biking classmates who had major crashes because their focus became gridlocked on a hairpin turn. When I came to the same hairpin turn, my instructor kept yelling at me to look past the curve. My brain started to argue, but I decided to obey my instructor & I turned my head to see where the trail was going after the curve – when I turned my head to look at the trail after the curve, my bike naturally followed my focus and I never crashed in the hairpin curve. This lesson about focus has helped me in all kinds of ways because it’s a continual reminder that I need to keep my eyes / focus on Jesus and not to get gridlocked on difficulties, impossibilities, etc – look past the curve. Further to this point, I’ve been thinking about a really great verse in Ps 25:15, “My eyes are continually on You and you will pluck my feet from the net.”
With this in mind, here are a few things that help me to keep my eyes / focus on Jesus:
good praise & worship tunes,
Do you have things that help you to keep your focus on Jesus? Please share! 🙂
I find that there are times when I keep myself conveniently occupied and busy in ministry work – serving, connecting with people, preparing messages, studying, etc. From the outside point of view, these all seem to be good, constructive, kingdom building activities and they most certainly can be! If I’m going to be brutally honest, however, sometimes these external activities can be a distraction for me to conveniently neglect the uncomfortable internal work that I can feel God pressing me on to be a stronger, deeper and more committed follower of Jesus. With that being said, I don’t think we need to neglect the outside work of ministry to grow internally – but if we don’t follow the Holy Spirit, sometimes the outside work can be a convenient distraction from the inside work that can be uncomfortable that God wants to do in our hearts. Perhaps God wants our external interactions and living to be a consequence of our rich interior fellowship with God (interior designing for exterior living)
Our lives tend to be really full with activities, relationship, things we have to do, twitter, facebook, concerns, etc. If you’re like me, sometimes I have a hard time hearing God in the midst of the noise of life. Indeed, sometimes His voice seems so small that it is a stark contrast to the loudness of everything else. Here’s something that you might find useful in listening to God:
H – help! Ask God to help you to hear His voice (it’s interesting to note that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper)
E – eliminate distractions. Is there some “noise” you could eliminate? Switch off some unnecessary noise & perhaps this “off” could be an “on” switch for hearing God better
A – available. Make some time on a consistent basis (I’d suggest daily) to be available to God – for Him to speak with you on whatever topic He choses, or even just to be in His presence, if He choses to be quiet.
R – revere. It is often true that whatever we honor & revere tends to grow in our lives & the reverse is also true. I find that I express my honor & reverence in lots of different ways, but very often by how I spend time. Time can be a very honest reflection of what is important in our lives, especially our discretionary time
I made a comment this morning on my fb page about how it helps to hear God when we are still & quiet. I wanted to follow up on this comment because I think that for many of us, it’s difficult to be still & quiet. We live in a really busy, loud, active & demanding world. Between our smart phones, the internet, twitter, conventional media, family schedules & demands, etc, it can be seemingly impossible to find quiet & still. Furthermore, when we do get a moment to catch our breath, our mind is usually racing trying to organize schedules, figure out what we need to do next, hum a favorite tune, etc. Still & quiet seem like elusive & ethereal ideals for people that have lived in a different era or even a different planet.
But for me, still & quiet is essential and it takes some intentionality. For me, I’ve found it super helpful to get up early before everyone else to acquire some stillness before the demands of the day hit the fan. Furthermore, I am also intentional about when & how much music & external stuff I listen to, focus being the operative word.
When I’m still & quiet, with God’s help, I focus my attention toward God with the intent of giving the Trinity my undivided attention (without distraction, interruption or competition). I need to wholly be with my Creator & yes, this requires discipline, some failures & some successes. But the rewards of greater intimacy & fellowship with God are indescribably worth the efforts & discipline – indeed, living water, breath of life & more.