Paying Attention
by Joanne Ellison

Sometimes I wonder if the entire world is suffering from attention deficit disorder. Many people certainly do and I am grateful that sometimes with a change in diet and perhaps medicine, we are able to help those that suffer with this. But there are a whole lot of people it seems that appear to have attention deficit simply because they have lost the art of paying attention. I am one of those lately. COVID has not been kind to me in terms of focus and yet normally I am very focused, determined and pay attention to what is needed. Why is that? Are you feeling this way too?

I have a theory. You can test it and see if I am right. COVID has enabled many of us to work from home and there are so many distractions at home. Always something to do, right? The other day, I closed the door to my office and hung an imaginary “do not disturb sign” meaning not even my laundry could chase me down in here. An appointment had been cancelled and I had three hours to catch up. I turned off the phone and did not allow myself to think about anything else except what I needed to accomplish for the ministry. Needless to say, I was able to get a lot done. But then it made me think about paying attention to the Lord. This is how my mind works. What happens to me in the natural always enters into my spiritual life. Jesus often taught from our daily lives. His parables and teachings were organic, down-on-earth daily living examples and they led to spiritual truths.

What would happen if we were to start our days focused on God alone? Close the door to one of our rooms and hang an imaginary do not disturb sign in order to focus on Him alone; read Scripture, pray, listen for His voice, perhaps journal? We would be training our spiritual eyes and ears to hear Him throughout the day. In other words, we would hear His voice say to us during the day: Pay attention to this. God is with us as Emmanuel speaking and showing us so much, but if we have not trained ourselves to focus, we miss Him. He leads us, guides us, and is with us as we go through our daily lives.

Newborn babies learn to focus on the voice of their parents and gaze at their faces. They will follow their voice in a room looking for them. It truly is a beautiful thing to observe. And so it is with God. As we look into His face we begin to see our reflection. We no longer see the person we have created in our own image– one who feels insignificant, or ashamed, or out of place. We see Him. 

My granddaughter Anna Parker

I have a new favorite song that has helped me focus and to pay attention to Him alone. I want to share this with you and suggest you listen to it for a few days until it soaks into your heart: When I Lock Eyes With You. Those of you who were in class a few weeks ago may recall that it was our response song.

Friends, the world is stretching us, distracting us and causing us to lose focus. It’s time for the body of Christ to lock eyes with the One in whom we will see our reflection.

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