(Excerpt from chapter "Living on my summit" from Leona's book-in-progress)
Daily I see neighbors walking their dogs along our street. Pets on a long leash are straining, running ahead, barking at every rabbit or squirrel, pulling their master along, and winding themselves around bushes and trees. They even ignore their master when he calls them. However, if the leash is short, the canine is under control, obedient, and happily wagging its tail.
A phrase in a familiar hymn is the confession that I am “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love....” Those of us in advanced years sometimes begin to wander from our spiritual center because the road seems to be getting too difficult, our feet are sore, and we tire easily. Our minds wander from our earlier sharp focus on the Lord. I need to keep close to God's side so I can hear His commands and heed His instructions.
From my first waking moment and often throughout the day I ask God to keep me on a short leash. I pray:
Grant me discernment. Show me Your priorities for the hours of this day. I can no longer do as much as I did in earlier years. Make Your guidance clear to me and give me Your strength and wisdom to accomplish only the tasks that You've specifically appointed for me. I want to hear Your voice clearly so I can obey and follow You fully. May I be careful to abide in You and maintain my "first-love" relationship although I am far along in years. While I do the good works that You have commanded and fulfill the responsibilities that You have given me, may they not deter me from a close walk with You. "Martha was distracted...worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one..." (Luke 10:40-42).
Schedule this day for me. Bring into my life everything and only, whatever and whomever, You ordain in person, by letter, email, phone call, thought, impression, prayer, event, responsibility or circumstance. Then I will know that interruptions and changes are not accidental or incidental but my opportunities and Your appointments for my good and for Your glory. And please give me good sense to let go of all other good things which I could do or to be concerned about. Help me accept that they are not Your main thing for me because they would draw my time and energy away from Your priorities. Help me to avoid them and leave them gratefully in Your hands.