God’s on the Shelf

Long, long ago in a far away land I learned a priorities matrix. This nifty little chart, with its properly labeled quarters, promotes proper focus by sorting what is important from what is unimportant and what is urgent from what is not. Do you remember this? I think we covered it in college. Or was it high school? Clearly I don’t remember it well, and my life lately has reflected such.

Photo from ASHPFoundation.org
As my trip to San Diego quickly approaches, I’ve struggled to remain sober. (Of mind, not drink.) Everything I want to do before leaving runs through my head and quickly overpowers the things I should be doing and need to do first. It took great discipline for me to complete the Big Word study this week because all I really wanted to do was work on my new website (hopefully launching next week), buy a new suitcase and figure out what clothes I should pack. None of those things were urgent, however. They still aren’t. I have a week of time to finish all that and more. Yet my mind kept fluttering that direction.

Does a fluttering mind indicate urgency? Or just distractedness? (Is that a word? Distractedness. I’m going to say “yes.”)

Sometimes my distractedness convinces me that the fluttering really does signify urgency. I reason that if I just tend to the things that presently consume my thoughts, I’ll liberate all that brain power to truly focus on the more important things. It’s a service, you see. I set those very important tasks safely on a shelf until I can address them properly with my full attention. Oh, but it rarely pays to choose the frivolous over the necessary.

I’m sure none of you ever struggle like this. You all probably maintain proper priorities without a blink.

You always get your thank you notes out on time and turn in unpleasant assignments ahead of schedule. Your library books are never overdue, your dinner never burns while you look at facebook, and your kids have never gone to school barefoot. (Other than that one time, neither have mine.) And you easily set your novels aside to read your Bible instead.

Too often I set God on a shelf. I want to give Him my all, but shiny things persistently pull me in other directions. I want to pray, but can’t think because I’m dying to know what happens to my heroine in the next chapter or what witty tweets await me or … Really? Are these things truly more important than Him?

I rationalize that surrendering a distracted mind is the equivalent of giving Him only part of me. And so I wait, occasionally dusting the shelf, but not always picking Him up.

Is it better to give Him nothing than to give Him what I am? He knows I’m ADD. He knows I’m a fallible, distracted, weak and perfectly imperfect in every way.

And so I stop.

I reach up to that shelf and pray desperately for clarity. For just a few moments in which the buzz of my brain will quiet so that I can simply focus on what is most important. Not only important, but urgent as well. I need Him now. 

Talk to me!

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