Sunday, February 11, 2018

Living Scattered?

The confession David Hazard makes in one of his prayers is one I need to make:
My Father, something inward tells me I have been living scattered. Sometimes anxious. Restless. Distracted. Wandering inside.
(David's prayer is found on page 14 in a book he compiled. The book is entitled I Come Quietly to Meet You and contains 40 devotionals that were written by Amy Carmichael.)

I, too, am often guilty of living scattered. Sadly, I'm sometimes scarcely aware of the many distractions that shift my focus from God to all the stuff that’s going on around me. For example, my attention is so easily diverted from Him to the news on the TV, to the ringing of the phone, to the ringtone signaling the arrival of a text message, to an unfinished task, to thoughts of what to cook for supper, etc. My mind gets so absorbed with such distractions, coming one after another, that I can go for hours without a single thought about God.

As the distractions increase, my thoughts of God tend to decrease. Then, like David Hazard, I begin to feel anxious. Stress builds. Frustrations increase. Overwhelm sets in.

That changes when I do what David Hazard suggests in another part of his prayer: intentionally and consciously refocus my thoughts on Jesus and what He has done--and is doing--for me (and for others, too).

Thankfully, I'm discovering many ways to do that:

  • Sing or hum a beloved song, like Jesus Loves Me or All the Way My Savior Leads Me (text is below).
  • Sit down to read from the Bible. That helps me refocus, as does taking time to type a prayer to Him. (Typing, as opposed to speaking aloud or just thinking, helps me to stay focused.)
  • Listen to Christian music or sermons while I'm doing household tasks.
  • Talk with God as I fold clothes or cook dinner.
  • Look around, like a young child sometimes does when saying nighttime prayers or blessings at the table, and begin thanking God for the many blessings that surround me.
Ever so slowly, I'm learning that staying focused on Him throughout the day provides far more peace and contentment than living scattered.

You keep him in perfect peace 
whose mind is stayed on you, 
because he trusts in you.
~Isaiah 26:3, ESV

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

~Fanny J. Crosby, 1875 
(Even if you know the tune to this hymn well enough to sing it, 

please try reading the words slowly and thoughtfully, 

taking time to reflect on each phrase.) 

1. All the way my Savior leads me; 

What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt his tender mercy,

Who thro' life has been my guide?

Heav'nly peace, divinest comfort,

Here by faith in him to dwell!

For I know what-e're befall me, 
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know what-ere befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

2. All the way my Savior leads me;
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for ev'ry trial,
Feeds me with the living bread:
Tho my weary steps may falter,
and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me, 
Lo! a spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me, 
Lo! a spring of joy I see.

3. All the way my Savior leads me;
Oh, the full-ness of his love!
Perfect rest to me is promis'd
In my Father's house above:
When my spirit, cloth'd immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song thro' endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song thro' endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

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