How well do you pay attention to what you’re paying attention to? It’s incredibly easy these days to live without much mindfulness. Without noticing the unusual and even the ordinary events that take place in our daily experiences.
God built within us the capacity to focus our attention. And when we do, we create the space to hear Him speaking and to recognize His activity in our lives in all His different ways of interacting with us.
A wonderful illustration of paying attention is found in Exodus 3.
Moses was going about his typical day at work as a shepherd, tending the flocks and minding his own business, when suddenly he noticed something he had never seen before. Something unusual.
I’m sure he had seen plenty of brush fires in his day, but this was different. The bush wasn’t burning up; it wasn’t being consumed by the fire. What a strange sight!
Moses allowed himself to be curious and decided to walk a little closer. He stopped in the middle of his normal routine to take a better look. To be drawn in and captivated by an unusual sight. He chose to give his attention to this unexpected event that was happening on an ordinary day.
And that’s when he heard the Voice. That is when he heard God speaking to him. After he stopped. After he allowed himself to be interrupted from his routine.
It’s important to note that it wasn’t until AFTER Moses stopped, AFTER he walked over to take a look, AFTER he paid attention, that God spoke to him.
What if Moses had kept walking? What if he had been too busy to be interrupted? Too uninterested to go out of his way? Too asleep to notice what was happening?
His life might have stayed the same and he could have missed the incredible adventure God had in store for him.
The Bible is full of stories about people who paid attention to the uncommon ways of God. It’s so easy to assume these people had special ways of connecting to God that we don’t have available to us, but that is not true! God does not change. He still speaks today. And if we are willing to turn aside, we can hear Him speaking to us too.
How often do you stop to pay attention to the unusual occurrences in your everyday life? When God wants to speak to you, and he does, do you hear Him?
I confess I am usually so caught up in my own thoughts, in my own agenda, that if I had been in Moses’ sandals, I would probably have missed it.
This is why the spiritual practice of Journaling has become so invaluable in my life. Journaling is the number one way I am able to deliberately and intentionally stop to ponder the unexpected, the uncommon, and even the ordinary things in my life. It’s the best way I am able to consistently be still enough to hear God speak to me.
What about you? Do you keep a journal? If so, does it help you pay attention more easily to how God is speaking? How does journaling benefit you?
If you don’t journal, but would like to learn more about it, I invite you to stay tuned over the next few weeks as I talk more about the rewards I’ve experienced from this spiritual practice for over 30 years!