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Getting Uncluttered

October 17, 2010

I have been trying to find God again, to locate His presence in my life.

It seems as if I have been a scrambled mess lately, worried and anxious and stressed, trying to cram in far too much into tiny crevaces of time, with wild expectations that have little bearing on reality.

My mind, my spirit, was cluttered with objects that were taking up way too much space: the running commentary in my head; the burden of expectations; the drive to win; the deadline; the need for approval, acknowledgement and recognition. The longing for security.

But I couldn’t calm the thoughts.

They were running wild, like a herd of deer fleeing a viscious predator. The beating hooves made tracks all over my mind such that I was going in circles, unaware of my self, my own being, of God’s presence here.

A friend reminded me of the benefits of practicing contemplative prayer and meditation. Something to bring me back to my simple practice of faith. That’s what I want – to practice faith. To remember what faith is, rather than relegating it to a throwaway word from the bucket of stuff I left in the basement of my youth.

I started. Twenty minutes a day, that’s all. I told my prayer partner to ask me how I was doing with it, to keep me accountable. Because that’s what I need.

In the mornings, before everything starts, I stop, sit in my chair, and breathe deep. It’s a breath of sun, of light, of new faith, and it is starting to clear the way – to make room for my soul.

Photo by Nancy Rosback.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2010 2:28 pm

    Being. I’m your balcony person, Bradley. Standing quietly, breathing with.

  2. October 17, 2010 2:47 pm

    “Scrambled mess” – I’ve been looking for those words. As I continue through a study I’m doing “Discerning the Voice of God” I realized how fully scrambled I truly was/am and it has indeed quieted my head, settled my heart, and opened my eyes and ears to what He’s really saying. But I’m already worried that when this course is over, what will happen? Back to the rat race? I pray not….

    • October 19, 2010 5:17 am

      Yes, I have found that consistent discipline over the scrambled mess is required in order to keep things on some sort of track.

  3. Michele Corbett permalink
    October 17, 2010 3:13 pm

    I needed this today of all days. Have been sitting here paralyzed by a list of things that must get done on Sunday of all days. Life – how did I get here!

  4. October 17, 2010 3:20 pm

    perceived expectations are altered in the sitting, the space , the quiet.
    sometimes.
    sometimes enough for you to find this peace you are seeking I hope.

    • October 19, 2010 5:18 am

      Deb, this is really true – that the sitting and the quiet can change our perception of what’s important. Not always, but I am trying to maintain the higher point of view for what really matters, and then conduct my affairs accordingly.

  5. October 17, 2010 6:16 pm

    I wonder about people like us. Business is complicated. Management is never easy. The rules change. The expectations are increased. Rarely do we have fewer requirements in life. So it’s easy to look back and wonder, how in the world we got this wrapped up.

    I remember my grandpa with a big tangle of fishing line, slowly pulling it out, knot by knot.

    • October 17, 2010 7:02 pm

      Ditto. I never set out to be this scrambled. It just sort of happened. And it’s so hard to be intentional when it requires changing your practice. I am letting you go before me on this one.

    • October 19, 2010 5:18 am

      Sound like the muscles in my back a couple weeks ago.

  6. October 17, 2010 6:50 pm

    Breathing is good. Inhale deeply. Exhale deeply. In Lamaze, we called those “deep cleansing breaths.”

    As you’re praying, remember that it’s about relationship. Even in our attempts to set things right, we can focus more on “doing” and on “doing it right” than on being in relationship with the One who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

    Be present, breath Him in. And enjoy the relationship.

    PS I rang the bell for you today. 🙂

    • October 19, 2010 5:19 am

      Excellent distinction: doing vs. being. Always need to think about that, and the relationship of love. And breathing does help.

  7. October 17, 2010 7:53 pm

    about that photo…
    got to tell ya…on the other side of that building
    is a huge ammount of clutter, and if anyone should walk
    around in it, they would probably find themselves falling
    through a very old and rotten cellar door.

    you have my stamp of approval, bj.
    even when you’re a scrambled egg…i mean mess.

    • October 19, 2010 5:20 am

      How did I know that about this photo? I could just picture the clutter and mess inside, outside, and all around. There is no mistaking “clutter” when you look at that falling-down barn.

      Thanks for your great photo’s, Nance. They are tracking with my life!

  8. October 18, 2010 8:59 am

    Bradley,
    I’m convinced that integration (the alignment and prioritization of thoughts, desires, dreams and ideas) can only happen when we intentionally devote time to reflecting how God is interacting with us. And man do I ever struggle with that… May the truth of James 1.5 set us both free.

  9. October 18, 2010 11:52 am

    Bradley, thanks for making others of us feel better with your honesty and transparency – because you’re far from alone! For me it is a constant battle – it ebbs and flows but there is always too much noise in my head, seeking to drown out the truly important. I try to start my day with my first conscious thoughts being a focus on God – not even just on my relationship with Him, but His intrinsic glory, majesty, mercy, grace, justice, love. It helps, at least a bit and for a little while. A reminder to you of what you’ve pointed out to me, though – this stress, confusion, struggle isn’t wrong in itself – Jesus in Gethsemane wasn’t just under great stress, but surely was bombarded with all the concerns of his responsibility to save the world. He had to fight through it, and he did it in prayer, solitary contemplation and ultimately in trust and obedience. You’re definitely on the right track.

  10. October 18, 2010 3:32 pm

    “I have been trying to find God again, to locate His presence in my life.”
    …I kinda was right there lately. Just a couple of days ago.

  11. October 19, 2010 6:00 pm

    I am attending a counseling workshop and something Dr. Henry Cloud said yesterday resonated with me as it relates to my relationship with God. He gave the analogy of a duck in water. If he is splashed with water it just rolls off his back. We need an opening to let God’s grace in or we are like the duck. I believe that your contemplative prayer and meditation is creating that opening for God.

    Please keep us posted. I am with Susan…you are going before me. Hopefully I am not to far behind.

  12. October 21, 2010 7:12 am

    Recognizing the craziness is the first step, yes? But that’s usually where I stop. Taking action takes courage and determination…and God, of course. A prayer partner…this is not something I’ve heard of…but it sounds intriguing.

    Wishing you peace in the midst…

  13. October 22, 2010 7:45 am

    I’ve heard it referred to as “sitting in the lap of God” and I don’t think there is a more powerful way to practice faith or to get grounded. I have found that this blogging interferes with my ability to do that and I’m working toward a greater discipline. Lovely post.

  14. October 23, 2010 11:40 am

    I am having this problem in the worst way since returning from Texas! Take a few days off and mamma pays for it for weeks!

    Can we go back?

    Okay. So maybe your solution is a more realistic one. Besides, I don’t think my laundry pile could take another trip from me right now!

    • October 23, 2010 12:07 pm

      Twenty minutes, Laura. That’s all. That’s a start, and it’s better than doing nothing.

      (And yes, I would love to go back. One year from now?)

  15. October 25, 2010 12:18 am

    Brad ~

    I’ve asked the Lord to both inspire you to keep this commitment, and feed you with such delicacies that you’ll long for this time each day and become lost in it.

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