When my kids were young we often read them children’s books one of our favorites was, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Mumeroff illustrated by Felicia Bond. The premise of the book is described on the inside cover of the book this way:
(If a hungry little traveler shows up at your house, you might want to give him a cookie. If you give him a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. He’ll want to look in the mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache, and then he’ll ask for a pair of scissors to give himself a trim.…
The consequences of giving a cookie to this energetic mouse run the young host ragged but young readers will come away smiling at the antics that tumble like dominoes through the pages of this delightful picture book. HarperCollins Publishers.)
- I cannot tell you how much the energetic and distracted mouse reminds me of myself! Like today, a day set aside to write, I tried to clear my distractions, but before I sat down I did these things and more:
- 6 am coffee date- girl friends
- breakfast with my husband
- time in the word with my honey
- made the bed
- phone conversation with my son
- 3 mile prayer walk with friend & dog (See blog post Pick and Save)
- made lunch
- cleaned the kitchen
- soaked in God’s presence listening to instrumental worship music
- found some ice-cream to eat in the frig
- started at load of laundry
I try to clear my distractions so I can focus on the task at hand. BUT it never really works completely. The scenerio falling dominoes that If You Give a Mouse a Cookie talks about could play out in my life this way.
If Rachel takes a walk in order to expend some energy before she sits down to write her blog. She may return from the walk thirsty. If Rachel drinks lots of water she is going to have to use the bathroom to relieve her full bladder, when she is in the bathroom she’ll notice the laundry basket is getting full so she’ll go start a load of darks. While she is in the laundry room she’ll notice a… You get the picture. This was me today. No, no, the truth is, this is me EVERY day.
Years ago, I admitted my constant struggle to focus to a friend. I joked a bit as I told her, “SueAnn, it can get pretty bad. So, for instance, if I want to clean my family room, I have to chant, ‘stay in the family room, stay in the family room, stay in the family room!’ repeatedly. Otherwise I’ll see something, like a fork that belongs in the kitchen, but when I go to the kitchen I’ll see a few dishes and start to wash them instead of returning to the family room to pick up the toys and vacuum the carpet.
So I out smarted myself. I put a laundry basket near the exit of the family room. Then if I was tempted to leave I would just drop whatever I found from a different room in the basket instead of exiting the room-otherwise, who knows when I’d return to finish vacuuming!”
She reassured me, “Rach, You crack me up! I get-cha, I find myself doing the same thing sometimes, so I’ll try it.”
After all these years, I have learned to accept the way my brain works and the amount of things I accomplish in a given day. I just do NOT get them done in a sequential order at all. I may drive an observer nuts who is trying to track me or a person working alongside me. I used to get so frustrated at myself and now I have realized it is the way I am wired and I appreciate the way God made me. I a fearfully and wonderfully made-His works are wonderful I know that full well. So I roll with it!
When I have to, I can stay on task. I mean seriously, I am able to drive and get from point A to point B so I know I can do it. I can maintain a conversation with people and do accomplish quite a great deal in a day.
But accomplishing tasks is not all we’re made for, right? I remember a phrase my father would quote from a colleague of his, “Do! What do you mean, what do I do? Why do I have to DO anything? I’m a human being, NOT a human doing!”
Take that comment for what you will, but sometimes it is important to clear the tasks the TO-Do lists and just BE. This has been one of my actual tasks this week. in light of this being Holy Week, I have tried to slow my pace and not overload myself so I have time to reflect on the events of the last days of Jesus life.
I have the privilege of singing for the Easter Services and because of that my schedule is pretty full. I am not adopting shame over my failed attempts to “BE” more than “DO”, but I am aware of the continued desire to practice the presence of God in the daily life I live and clear my mind of distractions and stop some of my tasks in order to not be run ragged by the life I’ve chosen to lead.
This is my prayer for myself and for you.
Father God, you made me and love me. You know how I am wired and what I’d like to accomplish and what I feel needs to get done each day. Thank you for ordering my steps along the way. Thanks that I can keep in step with your Spirit.
You are good and I am incredibly grateful for this Holy Week, the cross of Jesus Christ and the victory you won over sin and death. I am so grateful for empty tomb and the resurrection power you’ve given me to live my own beautiful and easily distracted life. Thank you for life eternal. Thank you so much, thanks! In Jesus mighty name I pray, Amen.