Sunday, July 29, 2007

God's Presence 12: Distractions

In life, there are many distractions. To the right is a television, which is one of many things in our world that causes us to be distracted from the important things in life. Distractions often keep us from the presence of God. As Brother Lawrence says in his eighth letter (p. 43): "Our minds are so flighty. But I remember that our God-given will governs our strength. It must recall the mind of God. Otherwise our spirit may wander, dragging us down to the things of this earth."
What causes you to be distracted? Hopefully the answer to this question is fairly easy for you. Because if it is not, then you will be distracted without even knowing that you are being distracted. If we want to even hope to keep ourselves in the presence of God, then we must be aware of those things that distract us so that we can seek to overcome them with God's help.
Brother Lawrence gives us some words of wisdom in this when he says: "I think the remedy for the problem is to confess our faults to God and humble ourselves before Him." When we can acknowledge that it is a struggle to keep focused on God, then we put ourselves in the right place; the place that helps us to acknowledge that we need God's help in this. Instead of getting upset at our struggle, we recognize that we struggle. As Brother Lawrence says: "being upset will only distract you more. Allow your will to recall your attention gently to God. Such perseverance will please Him."
It isn't about always being focused, but being aware of how and when we are not. By seeking to be more aware, we then are again "practicing" having God's presence in our lives! This is what it means to take our faith in God and our relationship with God seriously.