January 21, 2013
Back in the day when I was coming up, the house phone was in the kitchen on the wall with a 10 foot cord, so if you called me, I was in the kitchen within a 10 foot radius of that spot on the wall. Then when I got my own phone in my bedroom, if you called me I was either in my room or the kitchen. Then when I got my first cordless phone I could be reached in any room in my apartment, maybe even at my car in the parking lot. And then when i got a cell phone, I could be reached anywhere I could get a strong enough signal. And now with my iPhone, I can be reached VIRTUALLY anywhere by voice, text, or by FaceBook. I have even been sitting in church reading my online Bible trying to be reached by God when a notification pops up letting me know someone else is trying to reach me. Why is it so easy to be reached by everyone else, but I am too easily distracted to hear when God is trying to call?
I am trying to hear God’s call more clearly more often. I am trying to pay attention to the still small voice that whispers in my ear. But it seems like I usually don’t realize He has called for me until after the fact, when I have that “Oh that was God trying to get my attention” moment. My discernment is usually running low…clearly not one of my stronger gifts. But when I know that I know that I know that I hear Him, I try to act on it. Wednesday just before seating my second patient, I knew I was supposed to text Paul and remind him he is fully redeemed. Why Wednesday at 9:00? Who knows. Was it because Paul needed reminding, or because I did. Who knows. But for whatever reason, I heard God call, and at that moment I answered. I wish I had more of those moments to hear God call and to respond.
Today was my day to help at the children’s check-in desk. Not sure how helpful I was, but I am good at filling out name tags for visitors and passing out pagers to parents and I can smile and greet people. But since I was volunteering before worship, Paul and I were delayed getting to the sanctuary. We usually sit in the pews about a third of the way from the front. Today we sat in the last chairs the usher put out at the very back. Back row Christians. It’s a completely different perspective from there. I paid attention. I really did. But I was distracted by the different view as I found myself looking at the backs of everyone else’s heads. All these people who are more discerning than I am. People who have it pulled together better than I do. Wives who edify their husbands more cheerfully than I do. Wives whose husbands’ redemptions are just an understood, rarely considered default rather than a blatant Wednesday reminder. Mothers whose 14 year olds don’t roll their eyes, whose 8 year olds don’t freak out when someone throws them a curve ball, and whose 4 year olds aren’t boundary pushing adrenaline junkies. Homemakers who didn’t leave home with laundry in the dryer or dishes that need put away. Career moms who do it all and still have time to meet friends for dinner. Women who hear God’s call and never second guess it. There I am. Back row Christian. Distracted by all the shiny people, and by that blasted mint that got stuck behind my wisdom tooth. Yes it was sugar-free, but the hygienist in me was annoyed, so of course I had to distract my husband by complaining about it. But he was already distracted because you can check PGA golf scores with a smart phone. Busted! UUGGHH! That’s no way to edify my husband! UUGGHH!
But to be fair, I guess I shouldn’t blame my distraction on my seat placement. Even in my usual seat I find myself staring at the ceiling imagining an angel hanging from one particular beam. I know it’s there, and I know someday I’ll really see it. I’ve felt it around me at times. Distracted…let’s focus!
“But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ ” (Genesis 3:9 NIV) He is always calling out to me, calling me first, and today I was reminded in church that He always knows right where I am when He calls. But what is my answer? I have 2 standard answers. Either “I got it God, I’m good, I can handle it myself.” Or “God, I’m in trouble. I’m in a pickle again.” But He knows exactly where I am, whether I am tethered 10 feet to the kitchen wall, or trembling on my bathroom floor, or in my car driving to confront old friends, or at Chuck E. Cheese, or at gymnastics, or staring out my window watching someone watch me from their car, or on the back row at church too impatient to let a mint dissolve, trying to stretch my tongue behind that tooth so I don’t have to stick my finger in my mouth. And my lack of discernment is endearing to Him because I imagine Him laughing at how slow I am to catch on. And my distraction is no surprise to God; He’s the one who placed all those interesting heads in front of me. But I think next week, we’ll try to sit closer to the front.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10 NIV)