20 Mar 2015

What has your entire attention?

What is real, is what's before you.

Singapore's Marina Bay Sands

The rest of it doesn't exist except in your imagination, fantasy or worry.

It's 10:30am in the household and I am writing after the a late school-holiday breakfast and chores. Earlier I received a message from a friend, She shares one of her favourite verses, Matthew 6v34 ~ "therefore do not worry about tomorrow..." and then adds The Message rendering of it:

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

My entire attention.

Let's see, from the moment I awoke until now, what has managed to get my entire attention?

The personal time in the bathroom
The making of the bed
The setting out of food
The greeting of the children and the cat
The whatsapp
The breakfast meal

What about you?

Some things capture our attention.
Some we rather not have to attend to.
Some things it may be better not to pay any attention to!

bacteria - yes!

Our attention is trained.

From the earliest days, we train our attention. Were we taught to look out: at natural wonders, that crooked line, the neatly dressed child, that clever kid, the policeman who may catch us for misbehaving? Were we taught to look within: to notice our feelings and our motives?

When the children were little, we took walks often. Not very long ones, just around the neighbourhood, to the park, to the pool....and it is on these walks that they got their a good training to soak in daily wonderment, from bugs to leaves, from buses to lives.

Our attention is also strained.

As we grow older, more demands our attention. I find the children less able to sit still and pay careful attention because their lives is running on an RPM that would have sent the vinyl disc flying off the turntable. There is so much crying out for us to look into, consider, buy, plan, anticipate.

We gradually lose our ability to live in the now, to be real, to give full attention.

So today, with all that lies ahead and whatever surprises (including how my attempt at a new recipe will turn out), I am going to begin right now to pay attention to this one truth that makes re-gaining and re-training my attention possible: I am but a child of God. 

I am going to pay attention to this truth of my identity.

For out of this place of security, like a young child who explores because he feels safe; I can look out at a world spinning wild with troubles large and problems small... and ask, what is my Father doing right now? There is a place to ask what He is doing in Iraq, the church.. there is also the place and needful to ask, "what are You doing in my marriage, my children's growth, my own heart with all its many alleys and corners....

Little children are trainable. They have a natural curiosity. They are thirsty for absorbing fresh, new things. They are easily enthused, They are trusting.

As I return to my identity as God's child, I open myself to be re-trained to think and feel; to grow to become aware and attentive to His ways. Over time, we are able to pull away from our worries and be present to our lives, to what is real right now....and to live under God's sovereignty and goodness with a peace that is deep and abiding.

In fact, I am going to sit and give my entire attention to my Father for a while. Who knows what He will show me?

Why don't you do so too, and perhaps share what you saw or felt?

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