Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17

Attention Deficit Disorder

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You’ve probably heard or read this old joke.  I just found it in my email from 2004.  (Yes, I have archived email from 2004…and before that, too!)

“Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D. – Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

 This is how it manifests:  I decide to wash my car. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trash can under the table, and notice that the trash can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first.  But then I think, since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.  I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left.

 My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking. I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the coke a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye–they need to be watered.  I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.

I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn’t washed, the bills aren’t paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren’t watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can’t find the remote, I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.

Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I’m really tired.  I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail.”

This semester I am teaching two undergraduate courses in Special Education.  On the first day of class my 46 students and I engaged in some lively dialogue about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  I asked them to please tell me who does not have ADD?  They laughed as we launched into deeper dialogue about the differences and challenges that we all have, but beyond that dialogue I have continued to think about ADD – Spiritual ADD that is.

You’ve experienced it.  (I refuse to believe that I am the only one.)  You know how it goes.  While praying your mind wanders to the children, the dry cleaning, fixing dinner.  While listening to the minister on Sunday you begin to doodle a grocery list or a “to do” list in the corner of the bulletin.  While reading your Seminary homework sleep overtakes you and you weren’t even sleepy when you began reading. (Yikes, I slipped a confession in there with that last one.)

Peter experienced ADD.  He left the boat to join Jesus as He walked on water.  As long as he kept his focus on Christ, he was fine.  The very moment he became distracted, looked away, took his eyes off Jesus – he began to sink.  And that is what happens to us.  We become distracted, turn our focus away from God and we sink.

Hebrews 12:2 tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus.”  The Amplified translation of this Scripture says “look away from all that will distract” and “look to Jesus.”  Easier said than done?  Certainly.  But we must be intentional in our walk, our service and our relationship with Christ.  Identify your distractors and rather than a pill, endeavor to take captive every thought and cease every action that is not of the Lord.  Determine to maintain focus during prayer, worship and life.

At the end of the day you still may not know where your keys are, but you will know where YOU are – centered in the will and plan of God!


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