Monday, 25 April 2016

"...Restless, Distraugt, and Distracted..."

Psalm 55:1-855 Listen to my prayer, O God,And do not hide Yourself from my plea.2 Listen to me and answer me;I am restless and distraught in my complaint and distracted3 Because of the voice of the enemy,Because of the pressure of the wicked;For they bring down trouble on me,And in anger they persecute me.4 My heart is in anguish within me,And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.5 Fear and trembling have come upon me;Horror has overwhelmed me.6 And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!I would fly away and be at rest.7“I would wander far away,I would lodge in the [peace of the] wilderness. Selah.8 “I would hurry to my refuge [my tranquil shelter far away]From the stormy wind and from the tempest.”

It's the words "restless, distraught, and distracted" from verse 2 that stand out for me today.
Now, I'm not facing the kind of adversity that David sounds like he is facing. I don't feel actively persecuted or set upon. I have experienced such times, and in those times I have always been surprised and grateful to perceive God clearly with me, guarding my steps and preparing a path for me. Those times of great difficultly are not ones I long to repeat, but I will say this about them - they have been times that sharpened my focus upon what God was doing, cleared my vision to see the Divine direction beckoning and strengthened my resolve to do what I understood to be required of me.
By contrast, I find myself at present in a period of relative ease and comfort. My focus has drifted and I found myself now navigating through a thick fog of white-noise. I feel "restless, distraught, and distracted". Ironically, though I know God to have been present with me in times of struggle, I am finding it more tempting now in this time of relative ease to imagine that God is "hiding from my pleas".

I just came back from a time of holiday that was very renewing. The opportunity to rest was much appreciated and needed, but our family chose to do (or rather, not do) something that made the vacation all the richer. We turned off our cell phones and computers for the whole week.
(Well, that was the goal, at least. I'll admit we didn't completely adhere to it.  Imagine what might have happened if we had?)
The result was similar to the limited experience I have with snorkeling: The stiller I am, the less sand and silt is stirred up, and the more clearly I can see the miraculous evidence of God at work all around me.

In the midst of this Kairos, I hear God saying to me:Phil, you have my undivided attention. Phil, imagine what I could do with your undivided attention.
I'm still working on what God would have me do in response to this word of abundant grace.

What do you think?  
What helps you to deal with feelings of 
restlessness or distraction?  
What activities or social pressures make it difficult for you to focus on God's love and plan for us?


God, I believe you are here. I am coming to realize that many of my own choices are creating the cloud that make it difficult to see and hear You clearly. Jesus, be my centre. Calm my anxious brain. Hold my erratic heart. Grant me grace to be still and to exult in knowing that you are God. Amen.

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