Friday, June 15, 2012

Distracted by Grace


          With summer, church ministries typically take a hiatus from their normal schedules.  Along with that reality, our own spirituality may suffer as we turn to other things like vacations or being around the kids all the time.  Summer distractions may overwhelm our good intentions toward walking with God, as if we have a condition of spiritual A.D.D.  We seem to... "squirrel!"... be easily distracted by the next thing that comes running along, and have a hard time focusing on what is important in life.

                But before we get too perturbed with ourselves, think about the nature of our lives. Teenagers and twenty-somethings are learning to flex their independent muscles and are developing a whole new skill set of handling a budget, paying bills on their own, creating new social networks, adjusting to new schedules, and finding and holding a job.  Young families are constantly adjusting to the next crazy thing their pre-school kids are doing, trying to coordinate both parents working, all while attempting to keep both sets of grandparents happy.  Parents of teens probably aren’t even reading this article because they are driving kids from one end of the planet to the other (it seems), and wonder if they will ever catch up on the sleep they need.  And grandparents in our culture today are just as busy, but with the added irritation of constantly dealing with the next ache and pain.  It is easy in the daily demands of life to have Jesus squeezed to the margins.

                Let me suggest that rather than feeling guilty for our spiritual lives because of all the distractions and seeming lack of discipline, that we shift our distractions by being distracted by grace.  When we sense our schedules are awry, our financial budgets won’t budge, and our work never seems to get done, that we use these situations to be distracted by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.  When we are forever chasing the next shiny thing that comes along, and/or complain about our own schedules as if there are not enough minutes in the day to accomplish God's will, let us be distracted with the forgiveness that is available to us through the cross.  After all, the Christian life is about having a realization of our sin, and of a renewal to our relationship with God.  Allow our distraction to point us to grace.

                Most of life, frankly, is lived in the mundane. How we live for God day in and day out, through all the details and tedium, speaks volumes to those for whom we seek to minister to, whether it is our own children, fellow believers in the Church, or others who do not know God.   Establishing solid spiritual patterns of life can be hard.  But maybe a key for us is in allowing grace to distract us enough to connect us with accepting God’s forgiveness, instead of just running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  Allow grace to distract us toward thinking on these questions:

--Am I living in a consistent rhythm of life that reflects my most precious values?
--Have I learned to practice the presence of Christ in the mundane activities of life?
--Do I have healthy patterns of work, rest, and play that others can emulate?

In being distracted by grace, we may find that we have actually become engaged with God. 

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