The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11 NRSV)
Sometimes we get distracted in our lives. We lose the focus of what we really want to do and where we would really like to go. In the world today we face many distractions: television, Internet, the race to have more possessions, and all the pressures that are part of normal American life. Often we become distracted because we have trouble setting limits on our own wants and desires. These can cause us to drift away from the center of our lives. Time with loved ones is reduced, adequate rest becomes scarce, and an active faith life is squeezed out. If we let the pattern of distraction continue in our life, then stress and isolation will build and we will indeed be headed for certain trouble. Each of us can only handle so much. Many contemporary sociological studies are saying that this is what is precisely happening to many people in America today. While we are getting busier all the time people are less likely to have dinner with their family, an evening with good friends or quiet time with God.
There is however another option. We can break the cycle of distraction by intentionally concentrating on the basic practices of our faith. In the Christian church we have set aside six weeks out every year to do just that. The season of Lent is the time in the church where we prepare for the celebration of Easter. We do this by focusing on the basic message of the death and resurrection of Jesus and what that means for us today as a community of believers and as individuals. In addition we commit ourselves to prayer, worship, witness, and service so that our lives have grounding in a living relationship with our God. By commitment to Christian practice we allow ourselves to be strengthened by being watered and fed once again. The living out of the faith allows for our lives to be restored anew as Isaiah spoke of in the quote above.
One of the things that living out an active life of faith can give you is focus. Disciplined time for prayer gives you a moment to slow down and examine what is really going on in your life at any given moment. The act of expressing how you see God working in your life can help give you a new perspective on how to continue to live. The expression of pains or doubts can create a space for your fellow Christians to show you love in tangible ways. A commitment to help others through service can provide a sense of meaning in life. Worship can remind you that you are not alone in your problems and distractions. Confession and forgiveness can provide a healthy accountability to God and others.
Through a renewed commitment to living out the faith you can create an environment where it is easier to see God working. When our relationship with the Lord is strong it is easier for us to stay on the course God is calling us to follow. We become able to discern what is important and what really doesn’t matter so much. I pray that the Holy Spirit continue to guide you this Lent and that through a renewed commitment to living out the faith you may see all the great things that God has done.
Keep the Faith,