So..looking carefully, fixating…
What are the things you tend to get lost in? I don’t mean complicated one-way systems or finding your way back to the restaurant after you’ve been to the loo!
Yes – I am talking from personal experience!
But rather the activities that find you losing track of the time, even missing lunch (that never happens to me!) or forgetting an important job that needed doing – like collecting one of your children – (well I didn’t forget, but I have stretched the meaning of late…) The moments when time flies rather than dragging its feet like a horse pulling an overloaded cart up a steep hill.
For me this would definitely include reading a good book and writing. It would also include an engrossing job like packing, or preparing for a talk. Sadly it doesn’t generally include praying and meditating on God’s wise and saving and sustaining word. I don’t often get sidetracked by eagerly awaiting the Lord’s return. I like to get lost in something with a very clear perimeter – preferably marked by a very tall mental fence. I love an activity that allows me to shut out the big wide world, tuning into a single channel for once. Having a break from the noise of all the other frequencies. But why that focus, that fixating tends not to be on the Lord I am not sure.
In theory (and actually in practice when I ‘get there’) it should be, and of course it is, the ultimate retreat, the one true safe place with one main focus – the Lord Jesus. However when I feel the need to either retreat or go off-duty, I instinctively shy away from time with the Lord. As an option it feels more like throwing open the windows and exposing myself to a vast array of…. well the best word I can think of is ‘stuff’. Massive stuff, stuff that I need to remember, do, apply, articulate, weigh up, absorb….rather than shutting me in somewhere either safe and/or off-duty.
In a horribly wrong and twisted way, time with the Lord feels like being called back into the office or up to a child that won’t go to sleep just when you thought you could collapse with a cup of tea, rather than the most precious part of your day that you are longing not to be interrupted from.
Which means that I have made it all about me. My relationship with the Lord is yet another thing I have to do, to work out, another person to please, something else to worry about getting wrong…and therefore the last place I would flee to for refuge.
And so my meditations and moments of mindfulness; my safe places and times of refreshing fixating are the things I can carefully control – tv programmes, books, writing, the things with a lock on the inside…
We noted before that watching one thing intently is often at the expense of watching something else.
Watch where you are going!
Stop watching the clock.
Or is just fruitless as in:
A watched kettle never boils.
Our generation and society are notoriously bad at stopping and staring at all – but when we do what do we stare at?
We pay people to make us more ‘mindful’, to teach us the art of so called mediation and then we squander those moments and habits on rubbish. We stop and focus on a moment so we can delight in….what? Ourselves?…Emptiness?..Our personal idea of ‘god’ or ‘inner peace’? We have one eye on the time to make sure that we don’t miss Bake Off, or one ear on the driveway to hear a loved one’s car approaching – but fail to keep watch for the Lord. We clear an evening to give our full attention to….. but skim read the bible while mentally planning the day. We have eyes in the back of our heads and senses which are hyper-alert to mischief when it comes to our children, but barely manage a moment of reflection and repentence ourselves.
Yes – let’s give our lives more space to stop and stare. Let’s stop worshipping busyness and constant multi-tasking. I can highly recommend a recent series on being busy that has been on Radio 4 recently – Oliver Burkeman is Busy. Yesterday I caught a bit of a programme on ‘mind wandering’ and the massive role that mental drift plays in the acitivty of the brain. Let’s daydream more! BUT the question is – where does my mind wander and what does that say about what I delight in and crave?
Dear Father God,
Please realign my loves and mental drift. Please may my default attitude to long to and wnjoy glorifying you in all things. In my full schedule and tight deadlines AND in my moments of space and rest. Help me to constantly lean on you, thank you, accept your will, trust you, submit to you, and generally relate to you in all that I do and think. In my preciious rescuer’s name, Amen.