Why the Desert Fathers Ruined Me

Don't get me wrong--I love the Desert Fathers & Mothers. They hold a lot of wisdom and faith to pass on to us. I'm not trying to point blame.

There are many times when I desire the life of a desert father or to join a monastic order (if it was possible to do so while staying married and having kids). In my mind at least those places seem like ideal situations to experience God more deeply. No distractions, just time to pray, meditate, get into the Word and practice the disciplines.

This morning I tried to focus on praying while taking my shower and doing the dishes. But while I was showering, my mind was thinking something profound--I can't remember what--I think it was a writing project thought--hmm, probably should have written that down--so I didn't get far into prayer. And while I was doing the dishes there was too much commotion going on around me, I never got focused. The second time I did the dishes I turned on some music. I obviously need some time alone and without distractions to be able to focus on God better in my day.

Or do I? After all, doesn't God expect us to follow Him where we are? Shouldn't I be able to connect with Him no matter what I'm doing? Noah was able to walk with God while building a huge boat (with no Home Depot around) and making preparations to feed a zoo for over a year. David was intimate with God in the midst of war and being hunted by Saul. And of course Jesus Himself was present with God while making disciples, preaching and feeding multitudes and healing the sick.

I need to face it: the spiritual disciplines are called "disciplines" for a reason. And all too often, I'm not disciplined enough. They take practice to get beyond the distractions and to be able to stay focused. My children aren't distractions--they're reasons to pray. And I need to embrace the silence at times instead of drowning it out with music (even if it's worship music).

Now if I can put this into practice for tomorrow . . . (I suppose I should get a head start on it tonight).

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