I put down the book, still open to the chapter I had wanted to read. I got up and walked out of the kitchen, through the dining room and into my office, all the while looking for my glasses. It bugs me that my reading glasses have become so necessary, but I can’t read a thing without them.
Once I got to my office I noticed a few receipts I had hastily laid on my desk after cleaning out my purse the night before. I thought I better tuck those into the folder where they belonged. As I stashed the slips of paper into the yellow file folder I remembered that I needed to locate my daughter’s immunization records. I plopped down in my office chair, pulled out the file drawer in my desk and began shuffling through the file marked Abigail. I couldn’t find what I was looking for. And no wonder: the file was a messy assortment of papers in no particular order. I started at the beginning of the folder again and began sifting through the pages once more, this time paying closer attention to what I was looking at.
Finally, I found it. I took the record to the kitchen counter so I would remember to give it to Abigail when I saw her next. Then I sat back down at the kitchen table to read my book.
But of course I had no glasses. I had gone to the office looking for them, but in the distraction of filing away receipts and hunting for my daughter’s immunization record I had forgotten to locate my reading glasses.
I feel like I waste a lot of time these days “looking for” my glasses. But the waste is not in seeking my glasses; it’s in becoming distracted from the search.
When my heart was deeply wounded, I knew I needed to seek God in my pain. As my reading glasses are essential to my ability to read medicine labels and recipes and the computer screen and books and menus, personal time with God was necessary for seeing my situation clearly and receiving the healing I longed for.
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.” (1 Chronicles 16:11)
But often while I set out to seek the Lord, I become distracted. Can you relate? While I know I should seek God’s perspective and character, instead I find myself searching for comfort from other people, advice from books and blog posts, perspective from the experts, relief from various sources and affirmation from anyone willing to give it.
When my heart ached, however, there was only One who could provide life-changing answers, clear perspective, healthy and continuous consolations and wise solutions: the Lord.
I learned to seek God more intentionally and with a single focus by consistently withdrawing to a quiet place where I could be alone with minimal distractions. Before long I had established a couple of daily appointments with God on my back porch, usually first thing in the morning and then around 5:30 in the afternoon when I would stop my work and take a break before preparing dinner.
Here are a few of the keys I found to deliberately seeking the Lord:
- I almost always talked out loud to God. Still do. This helps tremendously with focus.
- I used short and simple devotional guides that left me ample opportunity to talk things out with God.
- I listened to songs that reflected my praise to Him, and I really focused on the words, making them the meditations of my heart.
- I asked God to speak to me, to teach me, to grant me perspective, to be tender with me.
- I praised God for His character. It has always helped me to praise Him for His character traits alphabetically: He is Awesome, Able and Attentive. He is Beautiful. He is Compassionate, Creator, Covenant-keeping, and Committed to me. He is Dependable and my Defender. Etc.
- I used my personal scripture meditation and memory album to focus on biblical truths and encouragements that spoke most directly to my heart. I meditated slowly on these scriptures, applying them like a soothing balm or disinfecting ointment to my soul.
- I freely expressed my emotions to the Lord. I read recently, “The best way to handle our feelings is not to handle them, but to feel them.” Amen. And the safest place to feel our emotions is in the presence of the Lord. He can handle them. When we stuff our emotions we’re not being honest. And honesty is required to seek the Lord. So expressing our emotions freely to Him, draws Him near.
- I thanked God for everything I could possibly think of to thank Him for. He turned my thanks into genuine appreciation and acceptance. He drew near as I opened the gates with my thanksgiving.
I still have days when I “waste” my time seeking God. But the waste is not ever in the seeking; it’s in becoming distracted from the search. But when my heart ached, my desperation for Him grew, and that’s when I became more serious about and devoted to the search.
Dear friend, if you are hurting today it may require more energy than you believe you have to seek the Lord’s face with all your heart. But I promise you that the search will never disappoint. God longs to be known by you. He wants to draw near to you and shine His light upon your situation and tend to your aching heart. Do the work. Get serious about it. Draw aside. Write it out. Speak it out. Do whatever it takes to seek the One who loves you so.
This devotional is part of a series called Healing Words. If you’d like to read other words that bring healing to your wounded heart, click on the image below.
If your heart has been wounded and you are struggling to find healing, I’d like to suggest you try my Bible study, Joseph – Keeping a Soft Heart in a Hard Place. You’ll find more information here.
Gunther's Mom says
Kay, it’s reassuring to me to know that even an experienced seeker of the Lord such as you struggles with distraction, too. I will use some of the methods you mentioned to help my own lack of focus.