Friday, September 01, 2006

Resting in Him, A Mental Break?

There's always so much to think about and I can drive myself crazy doing so. Yesterday I decided I needed a break from it all. "Just stop thinking, Tami," I kept telling myself, "let your mind go blank." Apparently I need a little practice because it was no easy task. Then I remembered good ole Brother Lawrence and decided the best way to clear my mind was to focus only on God. I needed to rest in Him. I had the house all to myself so I thought it may actually be doable. I sat very still, closed my eyes and worked REALLY hard to think only of God. And failed miserably. I'm not sure I even made it a minute! The trouble is I would think of God and then start praying for someone which isn't focusing only on Him. My mind would wander and I'd bring it back.

Deep breath. Start again.

"Oh, God, thank You so much for all you have done for me."

Whoops! There I was again. Start over.

"Okay. Lord, You are all-knowing, in control, handling every detail of my life.

GRRR. I did it again. Maybe if I didn't think of His attributes, but Him and Him alone, I would do better.

Whew! I repeated this process over and over and over for at least thirty minutes. I have a whole new respect for the precious monk. If you haven't read his classic The Practice of the Presence of God, I highly recommend it. As for me, I'm going to keep working at it. I think if I ever get better focus, my perspective on life will improve. You think I'd walk around with a strange look of serenity on my face? I'm going for peaceful, not creepy.


Bly said...

What an inspiration you are to all of us. In my fast paced world of motherhood my focus is scattered. One would think that a stay at home mom has the most time to focus on God but since my home is my work my mind is pulled in so many different directions as I sit down for my quiet times. My responsibilities surround me. You have helped me to realize the importance of others to keep me accountable in my quiet times.
Thanks for getting me back on track.

Dena said...

wow, you did better than i ever could have!

Kara Bird said...

Wow... that IS hard to do! How many of us think about, "Oh... I need to stop focusing on ME for a minute here and completely focus on God. Eek... I've got a looong way to go. Thanks for the reminder! :)

R.G. said...

Wow, Tami, a great inspiration for all of us! I think perhaps you can go easier on yourself... after all, Brother Lawrence didn't speak of thinking about God continually but practicing His presence. Maybe this is a bit different. It's a continual, non stop awareness of God, even as you do other things and even think about other things. I love the simple way Brother Lawrence looks at things. It seems so easy the way he writes it, just to be in constant conversation with God no matter what. I liken it to being pregnant... you are going about your day, doing many tasks and thinking about lots of things, but underneath it all there is an awareness that never goes away, "I'm pregnant!" You are constantly in tune with that baby, no matter what you're doing. That's the way we need to be with God, always aware of his presence, never going five minutes without some mental acknowledgment of Him.

It is fantastic to meditate on God Himself and I agree His attributes are a great place to start -- meditation on God and/or Scripture is one of the classic disciplines that I keep saying to myself, "I am going to do this" but haven't done yet. There is a great book called Savoring God's Word by Jan Johnson that teaches Christian meditation... exactly what you are looking for in terms of "clearing your mind" of all the extraneous stuff and really focusing on Him!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of this blog today in church. My focus kept slipping away from God. In the middle of praying, "I forgot to write a card yesterday" Oh, great, that's just was that blog was about. In the middle of singing. "There's a person I haven't seen in a while, maybe I can talk with them after service." Good grief, I did it again. In the middle of the sermon. "That's a great point paster, what should I make for the picnic later". I give up.

No, that's just the point Satan wants us to be at. He loves to distract us. It's so easy. But, we can't give up. We just have to keep brushing him aside and get back on track and not give in to his ploys.

Ease up there Tami, we are just like you in our spiritual A.D.D., but you have the insight and honesty the see the problem and fight against it. Kudos to you.