SADD (Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder)

  • Don’t Leave!
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Every year my family and I visit Charleston, SC over spring break. We really love the “Low Country” and if you have never been, I highly recommend a trip. Charleston has a unique mix of history, natural beauty, charm, romance and southern hospitality. Whenever we visit Charleston we usually spend a few glorious days on the beaches of the Isle of Palms and Rachel and I fantasize about one day retiring nearby. This year The Circus-7 and I were leaving the beach after a long day of sand castles, seashells and sunburn when something strange happened. (FYI: “The Circus 7″ is the nickname for our family.  On May 27th, 2010 we became “The Circus 8″, but that’s a post for another day.)  I was backing our Honda Odyssey out of the prime beach-side parking spot when I noticed a few men, in the lot across the street, waving at me. I remember thinking how darn friendly people are down south and how people in the northeast usually wave in a different manner all together, usually with one finger. I drove a few more feet only to have some more folks along the sidewalk start waving and pointing at me too. I am embarrassed to admit that I thought, if only for a moment, that maybe they were fans of The Ordained Barista blog and recognized me from my photo. What? It could happen. Ha. Well, needless to say that’s not why they were waving! Yep, you guessed it, I left my cup of coffee on the roof of my car and started to drive away.

  • Distracted

The fact that I left my cup of coffee on the roof, of course, was absolutely no surprise to my wife Rachel. I have a long and storied history of leaving random things on the roof of my car. Some of these items include but are not limited to: the TV channel changer, our home phone, my cell phone, a subway sandwich (which was “eaten” by the tires of the ford explorer following closely behind me. ), 4 chapters of my manuscript, my computer bag and countless cups of coffee.  There are a couple of reasons that I have been so guilty, over the years, of leaving so many different things on the roof of my car and driving away.  The first reason (Rachel says “excuse”) is that the roof of most vehicles is roughly the height of a table or desk and a long time ago I got into the bad habit of putting things on top of the car, especially while loading kids into car seats. (Ok, at 6’8″ tall I realize that not everyone can use the roof of their vehicle as a table.) The second and more significant reason I leave things on my roof is that I am, admittedly, a very easily distracted person.  Today’s blog post is all about spiritual distractions or SADD (Spiritual attention deficit disorder).  What are the things in your life distract you from spending time with God? What are the things in your life that distract you from “offering your body as a living sacrifice”? (Romans 12) There are quite a few distractions in life that keep my spiritual “Go Juice” on the roof while I try, in vain, to navigate this journey of life on my own strength! Here are a few of the distractions that seem to pop up in my life on a regular basis.

  • Not caring for my body: Exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep.  It’s weird, when I am eating well and exercising I feel a closeness to God that I don’t completely understand.  We are all familiar with Eric Lidell’s famous line from the movie Chariots of Fire: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” When I exercise it has a way of clearing my mind and relieving the stress of the day.  Unfortunately, unlike Eric, when I run I feel like God is punishing me. Ha. Do you know what I mean? I’ll stick with the bike.
  • Worry: Having turned 40 this year with 6 children (2 girls, aahhhhh…) I find myself worrying about a lot of things these days.
  • Materialism: I still don’t have an ipad and the new iphone comes out June 24th, need I say more?
  • Busyness:  Far and away the biggest distraction in my life is busyness.  Busyness can give you a false sense of importance and skews even the best priorities (like working in a church and being “busy for God”).  I am notorious for scheduling things into the margins of life and leaving little time for rest, recovery or to hear the voice of God.  I love the quote by Eugene Peterson from his book Working the Angles“Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. Busyness is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It is filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s actions.” Man, that Eugene Peterson guy is unreal.

So these are just a few things that distract me from noticing that my spiritual priorities are, at times, on the roof while I am driving.  Please leave a comment on today’s discussion topic: What are some of the things in your life that distract you in your spiritual journey? By taking the time to identify the things that can distract us we have a better chance of avoiding traps as they pop-up and we can more easily recognize when we are trapped in the snares of a distraction.  The best comment on today’s post will win a copy of Jonathan Acuff”s new book: Stuff Christians Like. Remember to please leave a comment below, forward this post on facebook or twitter and become a subscriber to The Ordained Barista blog today! Thanks!

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  • tony babcock

    Distractions oh man …

    There are several big ones:

    The internet

    The TV

    The winner is: ME … I can create things out of nothing to distract my time and take me out of where I should be. I can even stretch out something of a good nature to an unreasonable length to suit my benefit. My own self centeredness is the biggest thief of time that could have been spent doing what god really wants me to do. I need a lot of work in this area and it is no coincidence that this came up. I have found recently that developing patterns in my day has helped out tremendously. I now actually make time every morning to pray!! And allocate 3 times a week to study out of my bible. Funny never have I been mentally attacked as strongly as when I made a decision to start Morning Prayer. Suddenly, my dog had to go out. My mind wandered to other things. My teenage sons got up EARLY!!!! That almost never happens. But the more I stuck with it, the better it got.

  • Barry Hill

    . . . and if you have never been, (comma) I highly recommend a trip. Good blog. It has been my experience that the egoic mind has no use for the present moment. It lives on Past and Future. The past defines it and the future gives it hope and promise. It misses out on the only real thing which is this moment. You can’t be blamed for leaving stuff on the car if you are no longer here. Elvis has left the building! You must become aware of your duality. The thinker and the watcher of the thinker.

  • Tom Pounder

    Distractions are – my iPhone – that thing is a time drainer (I’m getting in the habit of turning it off at times but still drains my time) and Busyness. You hit the nail on the head on this one Barry! I make myself too busy for God and that just shouldn’t happen. Thanks for the refocus.

  • The Ordained Barista

    You had to bring up the iphone, huh? Man, that’s hitting below the belt. Yeah, I’m with you on the whole entire technology thing being a distraction. When the personal PC was new the creators of the computer said that it would save us so much time and make our lives so much easier that we would only need to work 30 hour a week jobs. How’s that working out? ha. Thanks for the comment Tom!

  • The Ordained Barista

    Thankx fer the Grammeer Cheq. It’s not always easy having a father who writes for a living. Yes, the “Egoic Mind”, as it’s defined, has no place in the present according to Eckhart Tolle and others. What Tolle calls the Egoic self I call the “nature of sin” that is; choosing our way over Gods way. I agree with you that the rub or challenge is to have your future and your past shape your present actions. Our Praxis…

  • Carissa Kuehn

    Hi Barry,

    I would have to agree with you on busyness. By far that is the number 1 distraction in my life.

    For me, the penalty of busyness is three-fold. First, I get myself so overworked that I feel too tired to do much of anything else, and yet I can’t remember what, exactly, I did with my entire day to get to that point of exhaustion. This has the additional effect of making me wonder if I really did anything worthwhile at all that day.

    Second, I get in the habit of being ‘on the go’ all the time; when I do get free time, I don’t know what to do with it and I can’t settle down. It becomes the classic scenario of remaining busy in my spare time because I feel like I *have* to be doing something. I have literally trained myself to either go all out all the time, or to do absolutely nothing–’on/off’, so to speak.

    Third, when things get really busy, I find that the time I do get to myself is spent doing ‘me stuff’ that involves no one else making demands on me or my time (I teach, so my day consists of having 100+ teenagers vying for my time, all of whom need something slightly different from the others). So I find myself doing things that I want to do (or have convinced myself that I want to do), or things that I have not had time to do all week because of how busy it’s been (cleaning the house, doing laundry, training my dog, etc.). Somehow ‘Time with God’ gets sent to the bottom of the list…

    The long and short of it is that God gets put on the back burner, while the distractions take precedence. He’s always there at the back of my thoughts, but really, He should be at the front. When I have allowed myself to be trained by busyness to neglect that relationship, then I find myself completely out of practice and very rusty in cultivating that healthy, two-way communication with God. Makes life more difficult than it has to be, and yet somehow I convince myself that it makes things easier. Perhaps more comfortable, but not easier.

    Thanks for the blog!

  • Barry Hill Sr.

    What do you make of the original meaning of “sin” being an archery term which means (Greek?) “missing the mark?” That seems to suggest a volition-less mistake. or unskillful living as the Buddah says. We say the original problem is the Human Condition is a sickness that we all suffer from and must be awakened from either by suffering or by epiphany(sp) Satori? The toppling of the Mind as my god and my “self” as who I am. Sorry to bag on your grammar. I’m old. Missed the mark = was an asshole. :) dude! I’ve never made one of those :) marks in my life. What is happening to me?

  • Barry Hill Sr.

    The Fat Man would say that Mindfullness is the antidote for SADD.

    Celtics? Who did they think they were playing, the Knicks? Rabble.

  • tony babcock

    “What do you make of the original meaning of “sin” being an archery term which means (Greek?) “missing the mark?” That seems to suggest a volition-less mistake. ”

    The context for the use of the word “sin” would dictate the meaning to me. If you are speaking greek then so be it. If you are using it in modern day english for me and my own experience only, missing the mark still means i am not on target for what my goal is. That being the case I had better change and get back on track, (Romans 6:23) because the wages of sin is death. So that tells me that missing the mark can be pretty painful. I am not an educated man as far as books and schools. So if my ramblings are off track just take what you can use and leave the rest.