It is said the prayer for those with attention deficit disorder is “Please God, help me to focus on. Oh look, a bird!”
Trust me, you don’t have to have ADD to know that prayer, just live in western Washington on a week that reeks of summer like this past week has. Sitting at a desk trying to accomplish something when it was hot and sunny outside? Waking up in the morning thinking, “today I will get through my ‘to-do list’ and feel really good about it!”
Instead, it was…“well…maybe I should just take my coffee outside and sit in the sun for awhile...after all, I need a little vitamin D!”
And by the end of the day, after way too many breaks for coffee, I am further behind than when I first woke up!
And if we are honest with each other, (we can…it’s just us!) isn’t this how we feel with our walk with God at times?
We are just a little past the celebration of the resurrection and perhaps you are one of those who hadn’t been to church in a while and you chose to go and you enjoyed it! You left feeling that God wasn’t mad at you for being away (He isn’t, by the way) and it might just be that you received some glimpse of how much Jesus really loves you (He does) and said a silent prayer to God that you, “would do better.” Your internal “spiritual to-do list” began to fill out. “I will have a quiet time every day. I will read my Bible. I will pray each day.” Etc., etc., etc.
And then Monday hit. Or maybe you made it a week or two…until Monday hit. And the voices start up in your head reminding you of all that you didn’t do. And in some ways, you feel like you are further behind than you were. I hate those kind of Mondays.
So here is what I’m going to suggest. Let’s take a little metaphorical cup of coffee to the porch and assume we have some sunshine to sit in. Imagine that feeling of warmth, of brightness, of spring flowers beginning to bloom.
Now take a sip…of your coffee or tea, of the beauty that is around you, of the amazing sunshine. Soak it in…the goodness…now, say “thank you.” We could be more “spiritual” and say “thank you God” but he will get the idea. It just takes a moment to get back to where we need to be, where we want to be, with Jesus. Being thankful and recognizing that it all comes from God. James, in his letter, tells us this truth. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James is telling this in contrast to a person developing a separation from God. And in the process gives us an idea of what pulls us back toward the Father. Remembering those gifts, those good things, that he provides.
It is easy to get caught up on what we don’t have. The shortness of the checking balance against the height of the stack of bills, tensions in our relationships, or the emotional baggage we have collected over time. It is so easy to be distracted by these things; to be taken off the course that we would like to set for ourselves. And then we start comparing ourselves to some idea of “super spirituality” that we are supposed to live up to. We may even ask ourselves what we are doing wrong…and I’m sure there are a lot of things we could name; at least, I know I can for me. But I don’t believe that is where Jesus wants us to go.
In fact, I’m willing to go out on a limb and remind us all of something so amazing that was possibly talked about at that Easter service you may have gone to. Jesus, nailed to that cross, looking down on those who just a time before had nailed him there, said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing.” And while he was speaking of those below, is there any reason not to believe that this same loving God desires to forgive us as well? That while we berate ourselves, (his “best of creation”) He longs for us to recognize how valuable we are and how much he loves us. And he daily sends us a reminder that each day he wants us to come to him. Yep, that sun is a reminder. It brings a new day.
So if you’re wondering how often God forgives us and beckons us to draw near to him…go sit in that sunshine and know that he calls us every day. And even in the midst of clouds, or rain, or whatever kind of physical day it might be, it is a day he has made and if you want to sense his presence, say “thank you” and rejoice in knowing he loves you.