O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord! Jeremiah 22:29
The other day I asked my youngest a simple question and she gave me a reply that made no sense. So I repeated the question. “Oh,” she said, “I misunderheard you the first time.”
Misunderheard. Hearing, but not engaged, not listening. Sound familiar? My son is a master, but I do it more than I’d like to admit, and not just in conversations. I am inundated with information and often haven’t internalized what I need before the next wave hits. Distracted and deluged, things fall through the cracks. (I think the cracks are wider than they used to be, but that’s another issue.)
But this happens in worship, too. We take prayer requests, and I’m counting how many doses of allergy medicine I have left. Is that on automatic refill or do I actually have to order it? The lyrics of a hymn like whiter than snow, trigger a reminder to soak the football pants when I get home so I can wash them before practice tomorrow. The pastor gives a reference in Matthew- Matt… Wonder if Matt are Cindy will be in this weekend. Now Gretchen has had her birthday but Harrison’s isn’t til next month, right? Maybe we should take a gift anyway… Before I know it, we’re singing the invitation, and I’ve misunderheard everything God said.
I’m not the only one, am I? It’s not that I mean to dishonor the Sovereign God of all creation who saved my soul and loves me in ways I don’t understand. And I promise my spirit is willing, but the flesh in charge of keeping me mentally on track is pathetically weak. So what can I do?
Confess and commit
I know this is a weakness. Admitting it and seeking help is an important step, but I don’t want to misunderhear again. I have to follow through. On a daily basis (sometimes more often). However, one key to following through is knowing if it’s all on me, it’ll be a spectacular failure.
If not there, somewhere
Maybe my brain is not always totally engaged in the worship services, but during my Bible study, things are different. And my prayer time is much less distracted than it used to be. That’s progress, and it encourages me.
Give it to Him
God orders my days and my appointments, so He knows. Sometimes, the easiest thing is simply to say, “All this silly stuff is distracting me. Help me remember it later, so I can let it go now focus on being in Your presence in this moment.”
How do you stay focused on God?