Two Questions When You’re “Off”

Last week is was sunny and cool with big, fluffy white clouds pushing each other around in the blue sky where we were staying near Windsor in Great Britain.  (The weather was a tad different the day I took this picture).

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I had just gotten back from a run during which I asked for directions about 492 times in tiny boroughs, at pubs, hoping to find a park. I kept getting pointed different directions.  I felt a little like I was on a perpetual rural British roundabout.

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Finally a woman said, “Well, there’s a moor down that way, but I’m afraid you’d get lost on it.”  Good bet.

I turned around and shuffle/jogged back to the hotel where I jumped into the shower and realized I’d been using body lotion instead of conditioner on my hair for the past few days. That could explain a lot.  (Don’t laugh – it could happen to you.)

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All that to say, I’ve been a little …“off”.

Eating too much, sleeping too little, not paying attention, and getting lost.  A little out of my regular rhythm, both physically and spiritually.

When you travel (or when you have anything “extra”going on, or a sick kid, or out-of-town guests, or a project due…) it’s so easy to get knocked off-stride and out of your spiritual rhythm.

In these times I tend to get to the end of the day and think,

“Where am I?  Who am I?  And how did I get to the end of this day totally missing God?”

Two questions can make all the difference as to whether my day is purposeful and life-giving, or a blur of empty activity.

1.  Have I filled my mind with anything of the Spirit?  Have I sought the mind of God to orient myself?  Especially when I’m busy or in a new environment.

Ok, let’s be honest here.  I don’t mean reading and taking notes on a chapter of Ezekiel every day.  I mean anything.  Truly, I’ve found God can use even the tiniest morsel to feed me if I give Him a chance.  If I’m clueless, any part of Psalm 25 is a great “go to” at the beginning of the day.  Anything is something.

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If I listen to God in the morning, there’s a much better chance my ear will be attuned to Him during the ordinary stuff and relationships of my day.  I also have a different grid through which I experience life.

2.  Have I made Space to process with God what He’s been showing me about Himself and myself throughout the day?  Where have I seen God and where have I missed Him?

Space, margin, silence…whatever you want to call it, it’s become rare in our 24/7 world of more news, more activity, more noise (especially for extroverts like me who can easily be sucked into the “more”.

Like Mary, I need to say “no” to the good in order to  choose “what is better”.  Whether it’s journalling or taking a prayer walk, I may need to limit accessibility to the world in order to be accessible to Jesus, prioritizing time to reflect on His activity.

What about you?  What helps you to reorient and pay attention when you’re “off”?

7 Comments

  1. Hi Laura.
    I enjoy your posts – especially this one about England. It reminded me of some song lyrics that I woke up with in my head this morning. They’re by the band Mumford and Sons:

    But where are you now?
    Where are you now?
    Do you ever think of me
    In the quiet, in the crowd?

    Perhaps the ‘me’ is God (Mumford’s parents did start one of England’s biggest churches) seeking our attention amid the distractibility that we are so prone to.

    As if an articulation to an unformed prayer, another recent song by a different band continues this theme and also resonates:

    If there’s a road I should walk
    Help me find it
    If I need to be still
    Give me peace for the moment
    Whatever Your will
    Whatever Your will
    Can you help me find it
    Can you help me find it

    Anyway, back to my tea…

  2. I could not agree with you more Laura. My Dad and I just left London and are now touring Paris. This morning we left our hotel after a most delicious breakfast to see some sights but mostly to take in The Louvre. We walked for more than an hour with map in hand until we finally found our destination. Of course, The Louvre is closed on Tuesday so we snapped a few pictures of building exteriors and headed back to our hotel: The Hotel Du Louvre. Turns out, the most famous museum containing the likes of The Mona Lisa is a left turn out of hotel and a two minute walk.

    Sitting in the chair beside my bed I shake my head and smile while realizing that I am not in control of much of anything. This know-it-all extrovert is humbled by this fact and daily reminders that God is in control.

  3. ‘I may need to limit accessibility to the world in order to be accessible to Jesus, prioritizing time to reflect on His activity.’- SO so good!!

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