Every time I walk into my office, I face a big pile of temptation in the form of half-finished projects. There's a pile of books behind me right now, all of them filled with bookmarks for me to transcribe in view of talks and retreats (and future blog posts); an email I printed so I remember to reflect on it and respond to it; an open notebook (more notes to type up); a manuscript that is about 75% completed, but not a high priority; folders for upcoming meetings; even a little box of Coke caps with codes to enter (I save up the rewards points and use them for magazine subscriptions for the community. Plus a messy stack of business cards that I haven't figured out where to file, and a few printed sheets that are on the floor in my doorway so I remember to deal with them.
I know that doesn't look like too many people's definition of temptation, but it sure is just that for me.
See, one of the biggest threats to my prayer life comes in the form of the impulse to "make room for prayer" by clearing up my to-do list--or at least knocking off a bunch of those annoying little half-done tasks so I can focus on the Lord and his Kingdom without that distraction.
Here at the tail end of the Christmas season, St. Joseph is clarifying the matter for me. Kneeling with him before the crib, things are not so much "taken care of" as they are reduced to their proper proportions. By trying to get them all out of the way first, I am giving them too much weight!
I'm so glad to have this important lesson at the start of the year: 2014 may really be a "new" year for me!