Distractions and Intimidation

  • The phone rings. It’s my best friend, who lives 100 miles away. We talk for 90 minutes (feels like 10). I hang up and can’t remember what I was doing before she called.
  • There’s a knock at the door, a little guy selling popcorn. Of course I’ll buy some! Now, which one is the reduced fat? Or should I go for the caramel and chocolate covered? I place my order and close the door, and wonder if I was already walking someplace, or did I come to the door when I heard the knock?
  • I’m on my way through the living room to the office to pick up the form that just printed – I could write my name in the dust on the end table! Quick, while I’m thinking of it, get a rag! And polish, too – the coffee table is full of cat prints! The form I need to sign stays on the printer.

Distractions constantly take my attention away from the task at hand, and I often forget to come back and finish, or when I do come back, I’ve lost my momentum for the project. And I can’t write all of it off to age – sometimes, I’m intimidated.

I just realized this afternoon that I have 5-6 books started (all of them good-for-you books) and haven’t opened any of them in 4 weeks. So I don’t. I don’t open any of them. At the time when I first started them, it seemed like “it” was going to be a good read, maybe even helpful. But since it’s been so long since I’ve read them, I read none of them. Besides, which one would I start with?

That’s how this blog feels. I have so many ideas of what I want to write about – silly stories, poems, honest words, memories, questions.  In my first few posts, words poured out of me. And then I got distracted.  Again. By life.

Life can get busy; it can pull us away from the things we want to do. Since my last post, we bought a house. We’re excited, schedule the movers and book our tickets, coordinate the insurance and utilities. And through all those days, my computer beckons. We’re selling stuff on Craig’s List. We’re sorting, paring down, lightening the load so that we take what we need, but not lots more – no room to store all that we’ve accumulated in 27 years of marriage (plus those few things we each brought from our childhoods). “Come write it down,” I hear my keyboard whisper. We make trips to Goodwill and drop off expired medications at the police station, and why do we still have all the cell phones we’ve ever owned? They can be donated to the Women’s Shelter – I can drop them off on my way to meet my friend for breakfast. I make coffee dates, lunch dates, snack dates, trying to see everybody before we move. “C’mon. You could be writing even about this – ‘God in the Midst of Chaos’ or ‘How to Say Goodbye’ or ‘Running 12 Errands in 1 Afternoon.'” Ideas to write about, but I don’t.

The books, this blog – they bring up the same issue for me. I get distracted, and the longer I stay away, the more I can be distracted by other things. And the more distracted I am, the harder it is to make time for things I want to do, like read and blog. And then when I finally have the time, I discover that I’m intimidated. I’m not sure I can remember what I was reading – should I start the book over? I don’t know if I can write words down – who would want to read what I have to say anyway?

It can be that way with God, too. I can be distracted from my relationship with my Savior simply by letting life get in the way. I’m running late and so I skip my morning devotional. I fall into bed at the end of they day and begin to thank God, but I’m so tired I fall asleep before “Amen.” Days can go like that. Days that turn into weeks. And when I finally “have the time,” I’m intimidated. I have let God down. I haven’t started my day with Him. I haven’t worshipped with others in community. I haven’t opened my Bible, read His Word. Why would God even want me to talk to Him? I’ve neglected our relationship so badly.

But He wants me to come. He knows I’ve neglected our relationship – He’s been waiting for me. He longs for me to turn my attention to Him, so that He can prepare me for the day and help me throughout the day. To keep my eyes fixed on Him, to trust Him, to follow Him, to recognize when the distractions are just distractions or when they are actually Divine Appointments where He wants to use me to help someone else. He’s not trying to intimidate me. He misses our time together. And I miss it too. So I come to Him. He welcomes me with absolute unconditional love. He loves it when we sit down together, and I love sitting with Him. In His Presence. In His Peace.

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