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I burned a pot of rice the other day. The rice smelled like cigarettes. The pan took about an hour and a whole lot of Bar Keeper’s Friend to clean. (Bar Keeper’s Friend is a good friend of mine.)

Burning food is one of my wake-up calls–a pretty obvious sign that I need to start paying attention. That I am living distracted. This time, I was not distracted by anything noble. Time slipped away from me as I sat down to quickly check my email. A while back, I burned a pot of oatmeal to a crisp because I got caught up in reading a library book that was talking about Presence. (Pause.)

I keep finding that I am easily distracted. Distracted by life. Distracted by the toys laying all over the living room floor. Distracted by my need to know things if there is something to be known. Distracted by the ever growing to-do list. Distracted by what others think of me (or by the fact that they probably don’t think of me at all.) I am distracted by my need to define myself and to prove myself worthy. I am distracted when I look for my worth in the world around me.

Sometimes I am distracted by really good things. Important things. Like the question: “What is it exactly that I am supposed to believe about Jesus?” When I try to figure things out, when I cannot let something rest, when I forget all about the deeper work that I am being called to, I know that I am living distracted. I am learning to recognize the symptoms. But then what? What can I do?

 

* * * I hope you will read the rest at Janet Hagberg’s blog At River’s Edge.

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