He’s been relentless. For years now, He keeps reminding me about it. Not giving up on me. Encouraging me. Calling me to change. It’s my life. The life I claim is His. The life I hold out to Him during Sunday worship. There are parts of my life I freely hand over to Him. Those aren’t the parts He’s nudging me about. It’s all the in between parts. He’s been gently speaking to me about these for years.
When am I going to let the distractions go.
When am I going to begin living in the moment.
When will I stop needing to escape in some kind of mindless activity.
When will I stop planning for tomorrow and missing out on today.
He’s used sermons. He’s used scripture. He’s used friends. He’s used my family. He’s used the Holy Spirit. He’s used experiences. Now, He’s using a complete stranger.
It started the other night when I couldn’t sleep. 3:00 am. The hour the Lord likes to wake me up. It’s before my husband’s early work alarm goes off at 4:00 am. Long before my girls are even considering waking up. Hours before my coffee and brain are ready.
Rather than seeking the Lord…why, Lord? Why do you need me awake right now? What do you have for me at this hour? No. No quiet hour of prayer. No intense scripture reading. Nope. What do I choose? Facebook scrolling time for me at 3:00 am.
Words by Rachel Macy Stafford (Hands Free Mama) rang in my head, mind and soul, such as, “I was able to look at her as a child, not a miniature adult. I was able to realize yelling or forcing were not going to help the situation. I was able to keep what really mattered in perspective while my best laid plans went terribly awry.”
And, “If you are having a hard time believing, offer a few minutes of time and presence to someone you love. Watch what happens when you offer yourself—messy, scarred, and broken, it doesn’t matter. By offering to give love, you are offering yourself a chance to be loved.“
In her book, Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters, Rachel Macy Stafford, gives weekly assignments to solidify the lessons. The first task I read about was journaling.
Journaling would not be hard for me. This would allow me to process what I am learning and have my learning in writing.
Upon further thinking, I decided to take my journal entries and add them to my blog. Because the lessons I am learning in this book, are lessons the Lord has been putting on my heart for years, I know I need to take this seriously.
He has a better life in store for me. He has a better plan for my family. His redirection is for my good, for the good of my family, for the good of His kingdom.
I can’t live this life, this life He’s gifted to me, this life He’s allowed me to continue despite a life-threatening disease, this life, this one life. I can’t live it well, being pulled off track by the distractions I allow in this life. This one life.
First lesson: Rather than reaching for my phone first thing in the morning, I will reach for my journal. I will spend a few minutes writing on the subject of living with less distraction even before making my coffee.
Here are some cleaned up tidbits from my journaling since beginning this daily task.
- I have been distracted, in my own world, focused on my agenda, not giving the ones I love my full focus. I think I am multi-tasking. I am not. I am giving each task a small portion of my focus. I am including my loved ones as one of those “tasks”, the same way emptying the dishwasher is a task.
- I want to choose love. I want to choose the people I am with at the moment. Choose the situation I’m in at the moment. To be present is to be available to love.
- Jesus was present. Jesus…Immanuel, “God with us”. God sent Jesus to earth to be with us. To live on this earth. To love us. To ultimately die and send the Holy Spirit to live in us.
Can I be with my loved ones? Truly be present with them? Can I lay down my agenda in order to love?
I am excited to be on this journey. Fully aware of my human nature and my susceptibility to fall away from what God is calling me to. Fully aware of the vulnerability I am displaying by admitting my failures and telling anyone reading this that I am attempting to change. Fully aware.
Are you on this journey? Are you further along than me? Can you encourage me? Are you right where I am and we can encourage each other? Connect with me. Let’s not do this without supporting each other.
Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.