Breaking Through Distractions

I burned a pot of rice the other day. The rice smelled like cigarettes. The pan took about an hour and a whole lot of Bar Keeper’s Friend to clean. Burning food is one of my wake-up calls–a pretty obvious sign that I need to start paying attention. That I am living distracted. This time, I was not distracted by anything noble. Time slipped away from me as I sat down to quickly check my email.


A while back, I burned a pot of oatmeal to a crisp because I got caught up in reading a library book that was talking about Presence. (Pause.)


I keep finding that I am easily distracted. Distracted by life. Distracted by the toys laying all over the living room floor. Distracted by my need to know things if there is something to be known. Distracted by the ever growing to-do-list. Distracted by what others think of me (or by the fact that they probably don’t think of me at all.) I am distracted by my need to define myself and to prove myself worthy. I am distracted when I look for my worth in the world around me.


Sometimes I am distracted by really good things. Important things. Like the question: “What is it exactly that I am supposed to believe about Jesus?”


When I try to figure things out, when I cannot let something rest, when I forget all about the deeper work that I am being called to, I know that I am living distracted. I am learning to recognize the symptoms.


But then what? What can I do?


I keep praying for open eyes and an open heart. It is a lot of work to live open, and sometimes it is easier to stay distracted.


I am learning to ask: “What is it that I am looking for?” Am I looking for clues to who I am? Am I looking for validation of my worth?


I am learning to remember who satisfies my soul.


God satisfies my soul in a deeper way than anything else. I’ve felt it. Experienced it. Why do I forget?


I am learning to let God define me.


I am learning to trust that God will let me know what I need to know when I need to know it.


I am learning to pray: “You are Enough.”


God is more than enough. God is everything. To glimpse God’s presence in the middle of my ordinary day is to glimpse eternity breaking through. It is participation in the Life that was and is and is to come. That Life that flows through time and connects those whose hearts hunger and long for and seek after God’s presence with us. This is Life. This satisfies. This is being awake. This is freedom.


As I exhale my prayer of “You are Enough,” it rises up out of me. I hear a whisper in return: “You are enough.”


I breathe in this Enoughness–mine and God’s–and I feel myself beginning to glimpse what it means to be whole.


“The essential religious experience is that you are being ‘known through’ more than knowing anything in particular yourself. Yet despite this difference it will feel like true knowing. . . . Such prayer, such seeing, takes away your anxiety about figuring it all out fully for yourself, or needing to be right about your formulations. At this point God becomes more a verb than a noun, more a process than a conclusion, more an experience than a dogma, more a personal relationship than an idea. There is Someone dancing with you, and you are not afraid of making mistakes. –” Richard Rohr, The Naked Now (That book about Presence that distracted me from my oatmeal.)





© J.L. Sanborn, 2015. All Rights Reserved.



Jessica is mom to three little-ish people and wife to a great guy. She used to do lawyer things. Now the future is wide open as she learns what it means to belong in her own feet. She writes about faith and becoming at