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Cats Can’t Skype

(This post is linked up with Peter Pollock’s One Word At A Time Blog Carnival. The word this week? Pets. Here’s one of mine.)

Cats are notoriously aloof, self-serving and nonplussed creatures. Why we have them as pets escapes all reason.

It must be the soft and fluffy fur that they leave clinging to furniture and the seat of my pants.

No? Then it has to be the gifts of decapitated rodents they leave on the front porch, or the litter box or maybe the repeated projectile spewing of a rust colored mess that makes me praise God for my trusty steam-cleaner.

There are so many wonderful reasons for owning a cat. I just can’t think of any today (because I dragged that carpet cleaner out three times in two days on account of him!).

My cat, old Sinatra, named after the famous crooner, Frank Sinatra, is a snow-shoe Siamese. He has a regal presence, tolerating all other household inhabitants. He is totally sans claws, so he exercises his paws instead of sharpening his claws. My furniture remains intact, thank goodness.

Sinatra is a good cat, but he is truly all cat. He will never be loyal or mutual in his affections. He is completely self-absorbed.

So am I when I’m skyping.

When the skype phone call connects we see this nifty picture-in-picture feature that I find completely fascinating! I can look at my daughter talking to me, but most of the time I look at myself talking to my daughter. I just can’t help it. I look at my hair, I watch myself laugh, I wonder why my left eye looks droopy. I make funny faces. I’m spellbound with myself in the tiny screen.
This makes me pretty lame company.

So, the other night I was on Skype with my daughter and the cat had to come in and interrupt my self-absorbed entertainment. She clicked in time and got a video shot of Sinatra staring at himself and yep, that’s me in the background. I think I’m looking at myself. We are a magnificent pair of shameless conceit, my cat and I, and now we have a video still to prove it.

All this feline fancy and self-centered vanity made me think about my day-to-day encounters with God. Most often I pray the way I Skype. I’m fixated on the small screen of me. I become so distracted by my view of myself that I forget to pay attention to the big screen God I’m talking to.

Lame company indeed. Why he puts up with me is beyond all reason.

But he does. God cares and provides for me. He listens to me and patiently waits for me to refocus on the big-screen-God instead of my picture-in-picture me.

Jesus’ brief example of prayer in Matthew 6 begins with a precursory statement: Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him.

This tells me a few things: God knows I’m thinking about myself. He knows my needs. He knows I’m going to ask him.{Matthew 6:8} God can deal with my self-absorbed attitude. But he won’t tolerate it when we’re engaged in conversation.

Jesus goes on to explain that prayer begins with God {Matthew 6:9-10}:

Our Father in heaven:

May your holy name be honored;

May your Kingdom come;

May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This tells me one important truth: “I” am not the big screen image. My vision needs to be focused on God, the One who is listening and knows my needs.

Then Jesus details three main areas of supplication {Matthew 6:11-13}:

1. Day-to-day Sustinance

2. Generous Forgiveness

3. Spiritual Protection for ourselves and others

Just for fun, I’m going try praying according to this simplified, focused model. I’m going to pare down my words because Matthew 6:8 tells me God knows all my requests before I think of asking him. My superfluous verbiage is unnecessary. My manipulative prayer strategy ineffective.

The earnest prayers of a righteous person accomplishes much. I do want my prayers to be effective and life-changing. Mostly, I think the life that needs changing is my own. It begins with taking the focus off of myself and centering my thoughts on the One I’m talking to.

What about you? How do you stay focused in prayer? Do you find yourself distracted by your own wants and ideas and rambling thoughts?

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12 Comments

    • Hi Helen,
      I don’t think it’s wrong to pray for our own selves, I don’t know about you, but I need it! I just tend to be overly obsessed with myself and THAT’S what needs to change. Thanks for reading. Blessings.

  1. That was an amazing analogy! Although I don’t skype, I found myself in your description of yourself in the box in the box.
    I’m touched.
    Beyond that it was absolutely brilliant.

    I did a story on our dog Larry, hope you don’t mind if I follow you over and post it. After all, that’s how I found you in the first place, I followed someone over when they had one about homes.

  2. While I haven’t noticed myself Skyping like that, I certainly do pray like that. What an insightful reminder to get beyond ourselves and enjoy His presence.

    • I was thinking I should write down those three supplication points somewhere that I can see them. I am a seriously distracted while praying, not a terrible thing, but an exercise in focused communication might be a good thing! Thanks for reading, Chuck. Many Blessings!

  3. Oh what truth you speak! I’m here from Peter’s, happy to have found your little spot in the blog-o-sphere. I will be back.

  4. I raised a tiny baby kitten who was left by her mother when she tired of moving all her brood. She lived 19 years and thought I was her mother. As a kitten she would curl up on my fuzzy slipper while I fixed breakfast. Our three dogs will not allow us to have a cat, but I would dearly love anothe one.

    • Aren’t cats funny ones? My husband and I were talking about that — how we just love them and sometimes, when we’re really lucky, they let us have a glimpse of their affection.

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