The Distracted Mind

thoughtsTues., Mar. 21, 2017

Luke 10:40 – Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!” 

The end of last week, I was at a conference for work. It was close enough that I drove, chauffeuring three other attendees. I had this awful expectation: I brought enough work for a week with me. There’s no way I could ever get everything done I’d brought along. But just in case …

Actually, I worked on several things, either in the evening or during the conference. Unfortunately, I spend way too much of my life multi-tasking. I can listen to a speaker, take notes, answer e-mail and work on a project all at the same time, right? Possibly … but something WILL suffer.

This doesn’t account for all the other little things zipping around in my brain: a quick check of Facebook, jotting something down on my “to-do” list or reading a text on my phone. Unless my brain is juggling multiple things, well, then I just am not sure I’m fully utilizing time.

Wrong. I find myself with the distracted mind. Honestly, I’ve brought this onto myself with poor execution of work flow, priorities and an inability to say “no.” Throw in some family health situations, looming deadlines and not enough sleep, and whew! I’m one distracted brain.

Recently, I asked someone for suggestions on taming the distracted mind. She provided me with many helpful ideas: clear priorities, removing clutter, taming the frenzy, focusing on one task at a time. My favorite suggestions: practice self-compassion and learning to say no. Those are suggestions that probably need to be at the top of my list … and aren’t.

Many times, I’ve read and pondered the concept that unfinished business is OK. We depend way too much on ourselves to accomplish things rather than allowing God space to take up the slack. I’m just not very good at this. The voice of the person who has pointed out to me a lack on my part looms in my memory. The unfulfilled promises feel like an untied shoelace that might trip me up. My deep-seated need to not let others down always remains at the top of my list while letting myself down is perfectly fine.

The struggle between living a life of too much Martha and not enough Mary is a perpetual internal tug-of-war for me. Maybe my words to Jesus, if he were at my house, would be a little different than Martha’s words. They would probably be more like, “Jesus, it’s not my fault I have so much to do.”

Really? It’s not my fault? Then, whose fault is it?

My daily reality is becoming more like this these days: the ability for me to make life-sweeping changes in my daily habits and routines is probably not reality. But the need to make incremental, purposeful and God-pleasing tweaks certainly is. It’s a daily challenge and opportunity to try to have a little less distraction in my life and a little more focus.

Anyone else struggle with this?

Lord God, forgive my distracted mind. Forgive my choice to try and do a whole bunch of things at the same time rather than accomplishing one thing at a time. Forgive me for choosing quick earthly distractions rather than turning to you for life-filling grace. Help me want to choose to become a recovering distracted mindful person.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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