Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Distractions

I was talking to a dear friend of mine today about my walk with God. Right now, I feel like I am "under construction" as I mentioned in an earlier post. I'm not sure of a better way to explain it than that - I feel like there is some demolition going on, and I am sure hoping for some snazzy spiritual rebuilding after that!

I read a great quote the other day by a mom who has three biological children, three adopted children from Ethiopia, and is preparing to travel to adopt another sibling set of three from Ethiopia as well. As I was reading her blog, she said something so simple and yet so profound, and I have been chewing on it ever since. She said (I'm paraphrasing now, it was much more eloquent on her blog!) that once you say "yes" to Jesus being Lord of your life, the answer to every other question He asks you is automatically "Yes". There's no negotiating, no bartering, no side stepping - if Jesus is truly Lord of your life, your answer to Him will always be "YES". Whew!

As I was sharing this with my friend today, I confessed that I was really challenged by that thought. I agree wholeheartedly that God will allow me to be a part of the works He is doing. (I don't believe it is theologically correct to assume He needs me to do anything for Him, but I do believe He will allow me to participate in His great story if I come with a willing heart and obedient spirit.) My struggle isn't with an unwilling heart. My struggle is in the discerning.

The key isn't just saying "yes", the key (and the struggle for me!) is in discerning when it is GOD who is doing the asking. I think people could take this woman's quote too far and find themselves in a spiritual wasteland, having said "yes" to every question that potentially could be from God, without really knowing the true source. An over-scheduled Christian is about as useful as a lazy Christian.

This is where I struggle. Instead of being discerning, I am distracted. Don't get me wrong, I have a heart that truly desires to be 100% plugged in to God and I have a spirit that is willing to jump in, but what I lack is the assurance that comes from clearly recognizing God's voice. A million other things seem to be shouting at me, and in that often well meaning chaos, the still, small voice gets lost. And I am left hesitant. What was that again, God? Can you repeat it, just once more? I want to do Your will, but I'm having trouble hearing you. My hesitation keeps me out of the game.

So many of the distractions in my life are actually very good things, too! There are the usual culprits - TV shows, the computer, errands, lack of organization. But Christian books, input from godly people, spiritual gifts tests, guilt - or is it conviction? - or it is guilt?, all muddy the waters for me. Toss in the messages of the world and my tendency to want to mesh those into some sort of Christian lifestyle, and you have a recipe for confusion and disaster.

I have been wrestling with eliminating some of the distractions in my life, just to see what happens. I'm still in the pondering stage, but I am at least at a point where my desire to hear God clearly has forced me to put everything on the table, from fasting from the TV and computer to wearing a head covering (I'll explain that one in a later post...).

I'm not sure where I will land with this, but I do know one thing - I don't want to go backwards. So I am praying about all this. And I am wondering - what things in your life distract you from hearing God's voice? What things would you eliminate from your daily life to help you focus and discern better?

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