THE SECOND WEEK IN LENT
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Listening Distractions & Remedies
by Robbin Brent
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We are bombarded with an ever-increasing array of messages, media, and many other distractions. Taking just one medium as an example—websites—we’ve witnessed a staggering increase from 2.5 million websites in 1998 to over 1.5 billion in 2018. Compounding this is our growing tolerance for noise and distraction, both internal and from the outside world, and the role our culture plays in creating distractions. How can we hear God while facing so many obstacles to listening? How can we create space in which to listen to God?
From the Scripture quote above, we are given three trusted remedies for our distractions: prayer, gratitude, and rejoicing. Most of us are com-fortable giving thanks in prayer for our blessings, yet our prayers can also offer a safe place to name the things that are getting in the way of our awareness of God’s presence. Scripture encourages us to be grateful in all things, not necessarily to be grateful for all things. A daily practice of gratitude can help to create a safe space in which to notice both what keeps us in the flow of God’s love and desires for us, and what pushes us out of that flow.
A gratitude practice can offer us room to discover what touches our hearts and the hearts of others, what inspires a lasting joy, and what allows us to listen more deeply for the ways our prayer joins with God’s prayer in every area of our lives.
Making it Personal: Take a few minutes to write down a few things for which you are grateful. Then, take a few moments to consider the idea expressed in today’s reflection, that we can choose to find gratitude in all things, not necessarily for all things. Is there anything getting in your way of looking for authentic sources of gratitude in your day? If this was a meaningful practice, you might consider keeping a daily gratitude list for the remainder of Lent.