Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Attentiveness to God

My wife, Nicola, reminded me the other day that while we don't think of each other every moment of the day, it does not mean that we have any less affection and love for each other than when we do. Love is not a matter of obsessively thinking about the other person, it is more carrying that person with you in all that you do, not doing things that would harm that relationship but things that grow it and look after it as we go about our daily activities.

I hear too often phrases like "I can't find any time to be with God" or "I haven't any time to pray". Expressing perhaps an understanding that being with God or finding time to pray means always setting ourselves apart, going somewhere quiet and being with God. There is a place for the quiet time with God, the time of devotional reading and prayer, being with him in that one on one way. But we can end up beating ourselves up over it and feeling that we are really not very good Christians if this is the only way we think of prayer and being with God.

I recall in my busyness when in the Software industry, working long hours, traveling, dealing with time zone changes etc., that sometimes I felt disconnected from church and friends, but then a phone call, a chat on skype or MSN, a few emails, a look at the photo I carried of my wife and children and I was connected again. Little things reminded me of friends and family.

On one occasion when looking out over Singapore one evening watching the lights from the 60th floor of an hotel, I reflected on all the things of the day. The everyday things, where I might have thought I had forgotten all about God but was in fact sharing my day with him. Remembering the short prayers before meetings or for a situation that had arisen, recognising the answers and guidance, which did not come from a booming voice or writing on the wall, but from applying godly principles in those daily, routine items.

A book I have been reading recently The Day is Yours by Ian Stackhouse (well worth a read), reminded me that even the daily chores, looking after a child, a sick person, doing the hoovering, washing up (or loading and unloading the dishwasher), cooking meals, going to meetings, talking to people ... all of these can be Spiritual things, if we are attentive to God as we go about them. As Ian says of the busy mother, "... even the kitchen can become Holy ground."


lizit said...

I really enjoy reading your blogs - this one is reminiscent of that old-time monk who wrote about practising the presence of God - good stuff!

Tony Mayes said...

Yes, Br Laurence was good at finding God in any chore or activity. Ian Stackhouse refers to him in his book.

I was thinking about things and then came across Ian's thoughts and they make a lot of sense in the busy world we live in.