It’s mental clutter. In disordered piles, that gyrate and swirl in my head like little leaf whirlwinds, restless, chaotic.

We laughed about it, my friend and I, in emails yesterday: ADD symptoms we saw in ourselves. I even mentioned reading about ADD as a gift, about how often creativity and amazing outcomes accompany it, born of surprising riveted on-task attention for remarkable hours. (Edison was ADD.)

I was never so diagnosed. No one, methinks, even described the disorder and assigned it a symptoms list till recent years.  But I know this about myself, and it’s all too true today:

1) I sometimes have so many ideas wrestling each other in my mind, competing for me-first position, that none can get out the door!

2) Noisy distractions can unnerve me, because auditory is my mental intake mode. I often can’t seem to help tuning in to whatever sound stimuli surround me (read, interrupt me!) I hear five conversations at once in a roomful of people, get disabled more by faintly whistled tunes than flashing lights beyond a window. So, unless I’m really fixated on task already, or unless the Holy Spirit supernaturally empowers (both really) I. need. quiet. Sometimes, even with a riveting subject, compelling motivation, and appeal to the Holy Spirit, I still need quiet to produce anything.

This morning I’m not getting it. One after another, distracting noises keep badgering at unbelievably early hours.

So I revert to a repost — of a sweetly still day when a different kind of plans got thwarted. Maybe with God’s aid, and a little white noise (nearby bathroom exhaust fan plus clothes dryer), I may secure some serenity like the post describes. If not, now able to drive any highway, I can escape to a softly carpeted public library I know — or someplace with similar stillness.

So here, for you and me, is today’s [re]post:


Moments of stillness. Sunlight and shadows play tag on a tabletop, over books and papers, across index cards bearing precious Bible verses, and up and down my corduroy sleeve. I sit, letting Light call the shots, orchestrate all the dancing – outward on the table, inward on the heart strings and soulworks.

It’s a change-of-plan day. I had big ideas… But…

I’m thanking God I’m not out there, chasing foolish ambition, on this sunny but chilled windy day – not trying to build a whole large “lasagna bed” in the old herb garden, with wild gusts stirring up a tomorrow head-cold, and a today frustration of wind-whipped black plastic and dampened newspapers, compost-chopped leaves and wispy grass clippings, flying in manic fits, everywhere.

I resigned that battle.

I’m not losing; I’m choosing. Choosing to relinquish the (over)ambitious – the kind of thing I too easily indulge before “counting the cost,” too often loading myself with unneeded burdens (as Crumbs from His Table so wisely warned, yesterday).

Putting all this together with today’s Bible verses and printed devotions I “just happened” on, I strongly sense my plans were not God’s!

The gist of the printed matter: (S)he with the task of encouraging others in Christ, of sharing God’s truth and good purpose, must first sink them down deep into [her] own soul, must draw aside to commune with their Author, drink rich from His wellspring, gather His leading – so there’s something to draw from the storehouse – so that what one draws out is God’s choice for the sharing.

“The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops” (2 Timothy 2:6).

Just feeding and ruminating in speckled dancing sunlight today.

Joy. Quiet joy


Question: How do you deal with mental (or physical) distractions?



To answer a comment question, some photos of Husband’s Bible verse index box, one taken with flash, one natural light, both doctored a bit to try to make labels show up better…

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9 thoughts on “What to Do (If You Can) About Mental Distractions

  1. Beautiful post, Sylvie. God brings order if we will just stop and let Him! Thank you for this respite today!

  2. I’ve always been one who needs quiet to create, to think, to be at peace… I gravitate towards music that lifts me or soothes… Your post reminds me of so many things I love: lightplay coming in and dancing over my tables, walls, floors. Peace that declutters the mind. And heart. Opens me to hearing His voice.


  3. I live with a man who multitasks multitasking. He reads, listens to the radio and watches television while working on a Nordick track. He must have constant background or he’s not happy. I spend a lot of time away from him and his busy-ness because so much stimuli is painful for me. I don’t know why he likes it and I don’t, but it is what it is. I love the stillness, the quiet, the peace of a holy pause.

  4. That’s true, Lynn. And I’m learning more and more to stop and just wait on Him. That’s why I didn’t write a blog post… (although there’s one up there, isn’t there? …sheepish smile) Really though, with writing, if it’s too noisy and distracting, and I’m getting frustrated, and prayer doesn’t change any of that, I now will usually just step aside, maybe change the scene, and await His timing. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I’m so glad to read someone else writing that they need quiet to be creative, Pam. Those who don’t tend not to “get it,” and that can add to the frustration. (Quiet) blessings to you!

  6. You had me laughing, Dawn. We’re all so different, and for some reason the opposites end up together. In marriage, they attract, but how to explain how, among four of us at home when I home schooled there were three distinctly different learning modes? Very visual youngest son, who may be ADD himself, neverthless always concentrated better with just about any kind of background music going on. He and I had to get away from each other! “Painful,” yes. Ah, the sun-speckled stillness!

  7. I wondered if you categorized your indexed scriptures in the box? It almost looked like you did. I was curious, if you have, what the categories might be. 🙂 I enjoyed your post very much. Thank you.

    1. Hi Georgene,
      That’s my Mostly Psalms Box. Its little tabs name the psalms their verses come from. Others reference the books in which the verses are found.
      My husband, however, has scripture verses on index card filed under topics, too. I’ll insert a couple photos at the end of this post for you to see. If you squint you can probably read most of the topics. (He’s not famous for tidy handwriting, but he did a pretty good job here. And he doesn’t have his topics in ABC order, which would drive me nuts, but it works for him.) Hope this is of some good help to you. Thanks for visiting, commenting, and asking. God bless!

  8. Beautiful how He changes our plans – even how He brings good out of our distractions. Thank you for sharing!

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