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Soul Static and Other Distractions – Filtering Through Lent

What does this picture stir in you? Personally, I would like to climb right in and sit there and simply take it all in.

We live in a culture where we are bombarded almost non-stop with multiple stimuli. It is estimated American adults receive 16,000 sensory images per day.

What do you do with all the “incoming data” – the continual noise, mind stimulation, intrusive sounds, emails and twitter feeds, internet news coverage, blog sites, daily 24/7 television news coverage, newspapers? Their pull is intense.

And, if you happen to have Sirius XM radio access in your car you have 24/7 news wherever you are – even on a quiet country road with beautiful scenery.

Consider the impact on our souls of living in the fast lane where we are receiving all this stimuli.  You feel supersaturated and hemmed in without any way out. You can’t get away from it or can you?

We are one week into the 40 days of the Lenten season. What a perfect time to join with believers all over the world to do what Lenten season is designed to do in preparation for Easter.

More than just “giving something up” the real opportunity of Lent is reflecting on your relationship with the Lord. Pause – be still and reflect. Create some space in your daily routine in which to rest in His Presence and listen.

Do we realize that we actually have a choice? We can – you can and I can … simply “turn it off”, pause and take a break. Elizabeth Elliot, the pioneer missionary, mother and author wrote, “It is amazing how clear things become when we are still before Him.”

Attend to His invitations in this space of time you have chosen and ask:
    How will I repent and turn to God with all my heart? Where in my life have I gotten away from God and what are some practices or that will enable me to find my way back?

    What does my soul need to detox from all the chatter, clutter and static interfering with hearing and thinking and reflecting clearly?
   
    Is it so noisy and scattered in my life that I cannot begin to hear the voice of the Lord inviting me to return to Him and be still? What do you want me to hear from you? I am listening.

We can ask Him …Psalm 26:2 “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.” Time in His Presence restores, refreshes and makes it possible to re-enter the pace of life we took a break from. Being busy and working is not the issue; being busy and working non-stop without ever pausing to reflect and listen is the issue.

Consider from His word these invitations:
          Psalm 42:8 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disquieted within me?Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”

          Psalm 46:10 “ Be still and know that I am God …” 
           Jesus invites,  “Come to me, all you who are burdened, and I will give you  rest…”Matthew 11:28
         
Remember:
     “The Lord is my Shepherd” Psalm 23. He is not surprised by our 21st century culture. He is not thrown off guard as to how to nurture and comfort His sheep – His children – you and me in the midst of the bombardment of sensory images. He made us. He wired us and He knows how to offer balance and comfort and instruction in the midst of the fast lane.
 
Again: The Psalmist invites,“ Be still and know that I am God …” Psalm 46:10
Be still. Jesus invites, “Come to me, all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest…” Matthew 11:28

Come. He is waiting.

Seidel personal picture of the Guadalupe River, Gruene, Texas

 

Gail Seidel

Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.