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Prayer on the Eve of Election | Wednesday, Oct. 28

The Subtle Sorrow of Distraction

Beth Dewey

" are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary." - Luke 10:41

I have been the “teacher” to my son and two other children every other week during this oh so crazy school year as we try to continue with education in the midst of a pandemic. A distinct pattern has shown its ugly head in the way we, or shall I say, my son, approaches the work that needs to be conquered each week. It goes something like this; By the previous Friday, we have been emailed all the work for the week that my son, who is in Fourth grade, and his classmate whom I watch, are required to do. By 8:30 am Monday morning, all the work is laid out nicely on the big farm table in the kitchen. I explain to each of the children what their work is. It is by no means an overwhelming amount of work, as each boy themselves have more than once proclaimed “Easy, no problem!”. Yet, the moment the boys are asked to begin, even having their choice of what to do first, my son will quickly slide into what I have called the “distraction” phase. He will quickly grab a toy and use it to distract the other two boys. Or start doing some silly thing like sliding on the floor, crawl under the table, spin in circles on his chair bringing his legs up over his head, you name it, he most likely has done it. I redirect. He melts down. the other two are stunned into silence and work. Then, eventually, he sits down begrudgingly, with tear stained cheeks, and proceeds to do his own work.

What I have found though, surprisingly, is that the moment I recognized this was a pattern with him and pointed it out, right at the “Distraction” phase, the rest of the behaviors that always followed vanished! As soon as light was shed on what was actually going on, my son would stop what he was doing and simply sit down to do his work, skipping the whole tiresome meltdowns. Whether it was because he wanted to prove mom wrong (most likely), or the act of pointing out the pattern really did help in redirecting his attention does not matter. As soon as the distraction was called out for what it was, it no longer held its power.

This scenario that has been playing out in our home has really gotten me to think on the incredible force of distraction, so powerful in nature, yet it’s subtle infiltration into our daily lives can easily go unnoticed. I can’t help but think of Satan sitting back quite satisfied looking on as Christians, Christ followers, disciples of Jesus, either scurry about with endless lists and tasks, or are stuck, paralyzed if you will, in fear, uncertainty, especially at a time where we are deep into a worldwide pandemic and during a very contentious election year. I find myself, even on the calmest days, with the best of intentions, becoming quite easily distracted from doing what God has called me first and foremost to do in this world; spend time with Him. The greatest commandment in Jesus’ own words from Matthew 22:37 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Quite simply, we, as followers of Christ, are called into a deep, pure, all-encompassing love relationship with our Creator, our Father, our Lord, our Savior. Out of this relationship, a relationship that is nurtured and cared for daily, even moment by moment, springs quite naturally what Jesus referred to as the second greatest commandment; “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In all honesty, it’s a tall order for me! But, if I am aware, I can then focus on what really is important. If we are spending time daily leaning into the heart of God, His desires will become our desires, His heart for this world, our heart for this world. The only real way to carry God’s heart to our hurting world is to let our hearts become like His, transformed in His image. The only way to do this? “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33, spending time in the light of our Fathers presence and the truth of His word, tuning out distraction, tuning into His heart’s desire.

Over the next two weeks you will be receiving daily reflections, meditations and prayers from fellow members of Peace. I urge each of you to use these little reminders to pause and reflect on what is important. There are sure to be many distractions this week leading up to election day and undoubtedly a contentious week after. Let these daily email reminders bring you a bit of peace in this time, and prompt you to spend a bit of time in reflection. May you find the time to pause, shed light on all the subtle distractions and center yourself on the One whose love for you is beyond comprehension, Whose peace passes all understanding, and Who delights in just who He created you to be.

Heavenly Father, how awesome is it that we, mere fallible humans, not only have been granted permission to commune with you directly, to sit at your feet, but that you desire our presence. You seek us first! Thank you for that call to each of our hearts and the desire you plant in us to in turn seek you. We are sorry for the sorrow brought about by all of the subtle distractions in our days. Shed light upon the times we find ourselves caught up in anything other than you and your heart for us. Grant us the grace to keep our eyes on you, confident that all else, your blessings and your purposed plans, will be added unto us, in your perfect time. Thank you for meeting us in this place today. In the name of your precious son Jesus we ask all of this. Amen

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