“What will you do in the coming year to be more Christ-like?” we were asked.

“Nothing,” I replied.

Every where I look people are busy rushing and doing. Parents tell us their children are involved in a myriad of after-school activities.

He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord,
for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Now there was a great wind,
so strong that it was splitting mountains
and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord,

but the Lord was not in the wind;
and after the wind an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake;
and after the earthquake a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire;
and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
— 1 Kings 19:11-12 (NRSV)

So this year I plan to set aside time to do nothing but listen sit and listen for God, to practice emptying myself so I can be fully present with God, to be aware of what happens around me without reacting to what I see, hear, feel, smell, or taste, and to allow distracting thoughts to float through my conscious.

So this year I intend to set aside at least 15 minutes each day to do nothing but listen for the still small voice of God.

Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down;
and if he calls you, you shall say,
‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’”
So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
— 1 Samuel 3:9 (NRSV)

My hope is to be able to listen in the midst of the noise and busyness of life. A spirituality instructor had prepared my classmates and I for a period of meditation after lunch. He had lit a candle and dimmed the lights. Then as we sat quietly waiting he turned on a loud raucous radio station. My hope is to learn to allow each thought, each interruption to slide through my conscious, without breaking focus on the one who is directly before me, the one true God, or even a person made in God’s image.

How do you practice releasing distractions and staying focused?

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