Tag Archives: too busy

Have I Stopped Listening, God?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 9, 2015

change everything

Have I Stopped Listening, God?

So many people giving advice. Too few people listening to that same advice.

Do you hear me? Have you stopped listening? Is there something in the way of your ears? Or, is it something in the way of my heart?

Some people are just too stubborn to listen. Or, too proud. Or, too busy. Some people are much more selective in their hearing, not choosing to hear good advice. Or prudent suggestions. Am I one of those? Are you?

Let’s take this selective hearing thing one step further, and consider it through the lens of recovery.

Very often, people who are actively drinking or using have selective hearing. They are unable to hear their bosses, their family members, their spouses or parents or children when they say, “Stop drinking, please! Stop using drugs, please! We love you! We care about you!” Even though faced with sensible reasons and love and kindness, that selective hearing thing takes hold. It gets its claws into so, so many people!

But once people get into recovery and the haze of drinking and using starts to disappear, what a change can happen! People open their ears and have the opportunity of listening. Hearing words of caring, compassion, and wisdom at meetings; from their sponsors, and from other people in recovery. Words of experience, strength and hope.

Thank God this is a possibility! Now, I need to ask myself, “Are my ears open to advice and words of wisdom? Have I stopped listening, God?”

Good question. I appreciate Your assistance, God! Thanks for helping me reflect and respond. Thanks, God.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Day #38 – Can I Open Up?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 2, 2015

ocean shore and shells

Day #38 – Can I Open Up?

I am guilty, I admit it. I have quickly responded “I’m fine!” to the question “How are you?” Even when I was not, really, fine.

Sometimes, I knew that the person asking was only looking for a quick answer. Even, a superficial answer. Merely passing the time of day. Occasionally, I suspected the person asking me the question was making acceptable or expected social noises. (You can feel in your gut and know deep down when that happens. I don’t need to spell it out.)

But sometimes. Sometimes. The person was truly, honestly looking for information. Wishing for a connection. Striving to develop that relationship. And I? I was having none of it. Or, perhaps even worse, I just did not have time.

Mea culpa, Lord. Mea culpa.

At least I regularly show others that I am interested in their extended answers! When I do the same thing, ask the same questions, I sometimes get the long answer from my conversation partner, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it is more than okay. Showing emotion and crying and letting down one’s guard? Totally okay, as far as I am concerned.

Goodness knows that I have sometimes been guilty of it, and answered back in a dismissive or evasive response. Or, simply been too busy to engage.

My current job does complicate things, though. I am a pastor at a local church. I do try to be accessible, open, affirming, nurturing, and interested in everyone I meet. I really do try! Yet, I need to maintain some degree of professionalism. Remain warm and engaged, with a healthy dose of empathetic understanding. Plus, balance that with some basic relational, psychological and emotional engagement principles. It is a juggling, balancing act, to be sure!

Thank goodness that I have some good friends and acquaintances outside of my work. I especially appreciate the people I am now connected to through the Internet. Through Facebook, and Twitter. Two particular groups of people allow me to be honest, open and genuine. I can engage in lively debate, friendly (sometimes snarky) banter, and downright foolishness, if I want to! I feel I can lay down my cards on the table, and don’t need to be as careful of professional boundaries. What freedom!

So, yes. I have been aware of the ubiquitous “How are you?” and the tepid response “I’m fine” for the past few years. And God is working with me, with that. God really is. I know. I do appreciate the reminder. Good to be brought back to what is important in life. Again. Thanks, God!


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(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Hanging On—Or Letting Go? In Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 3, 2015

devotion to Christ one thing that's necessary

Hanging On—Or Letting Go? In Prayer.

How often am I like Martha, “worried and distracted by many things?” (Luke 10:41) Yes, I am often worried and distracted. Generally, in life. But in prayer, when I am ‘supposed to’ be in prayer, or when I am ‘missing’ my time of prayer? Such barriers are so common in my life.

I am drawn to these sentences from my prayer guide by Howell: “Prayer is hard, because it is like letting go. We hang on to what is familiar, even if it’s of no great value.”[1] Hanging on to those things or ways or practices that are familiar is sometimes like a millstone around my neck, weighing me down. Other times it’s like wearing clothing that just doesn’t fit on me anymore, and is hopelessly binding or constrictive. Hanging on to those things are also like busy time-wasters that fritter away my available time, leaving me with only the crumbs to offer to God.

When I prayed today, those words from Luke echoed and re-echoed in my mind. God, are You trying to tell me something?

I don’t _think_ I am too busy. I still have a little leisure time. I am trying to follow the excellent advice of my friend Jason, a full-time church worker at the time. I received these good words several years ago, when he told me he blocked out three basic time slots a day: morning, afternoon, and evening. He suggested that I only schedule two of those time slots per day for work, and leave the third free for myself. I have been trying to follow his excellent lead and advice.

My friend’s words are useful not only for scheduling and calendar matters. His suggestions are useful in matters of prayer and relationship, too.

Let’s pray. Dear God, I want to be able to offer You a real relationship, not just the crumbs and scraps of time that are like leftovers in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Help me, God. Please. In Your mercy and for the sake of Your grace I pray, amen.


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[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 18.

(Suggestion: visit me at my sister blog for 2015: (The Best Of) ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com     Thanks!)