Listen to me; listen, and pay close attention. -Isaiah 28:23
I recently had a moment of awareness while sitting in a faculty meeting with my coworkers. I teach in a public school. All teachers were required to be trained to use a program that applies to most people in the school. It is a fairly self-explanatory program to use. The person training our group was NOT in the room but appeared on Zoom instead. We had just sat through a 90-minute meeting right before this training began. So…this group of intelligent and kind trained professionals, who were already distracted by thoughts of working in their room to prepare it for the first day of school, who had already been sitting an hour and a half, who were listening to instruction that may have been figured out by following instructions sent in an email suddenly began talking amongst themselves, checking Facebook, texting people, checking the Olympics coverage, making lesson plans, and anything else they could do to multitask. I have to admit I worked on aligning my calendar with the dates given to us earlier in the morning. I was, of course, giving one ear to the training session while working on my calendar. Multitasking! If someone had asked me a direct question about what had been covered, I would have either given a rotten answer or admitted that I wasn’t listening. Ouch!
Multitasking is a wonderful thing. I do it ALL the time! On this particular morning, I realized I probably do more multitasking than I should. I play Words With Friends while watching a movie. I listen to my daughter tell me about her day while I am cooking. I listen to my devotional being read to me on the way to work. I occasionally text important people while my son is telling me a story. I sometimes scroll Facebook while my husband is telling me about his day. It’s just multitasking. It’s efficient. It helps me get everything done.
I understand the need for multitasking, and it IS a good thing in general. However, it is not ALWAYS a good thing for me. It may not always be a good thing for you either.
Our focus tells it all. If I am truly listening and wanting to understand and empathize with what my family/friends/coworkers are telling me, my eyes should sometimes be on them. It is so easy to nod my head, say “mm-hm,” or give some other signal that I am listening. In this regard, I hate what I have become! In some moments, I have unintentionally become fake. I say something that tells the other person I am listening when I am not. That is a lesson in and of itself. I never want to be fake or false to anyone. The very sad thing is, we are most likely to do this with the people we love the most! I know I am guilty.
Then there is the next question: How many times have I done that to God? God knows if He has my full attention or not. He knows if I am giving Him my all. He knows if I am willing to be still, concentrate on His Word, pray in earnest, fast, use my resources for His Will. He is, after all, our omniscient and wonderful God! I say I give Him my best, but do I really? It is easy to let my devotional play and check that off my list rather than sit quietly with a pen and prayer journal and focus in a way that makes me look up verses, reread passages, commit verses to memory, feel God’s pull to do something new, or remember to pray for a particular person. He meets all our needs, but we need to give Him our FULL attention! In our human relationships, it is looking at and focusing on the speaker. In our relationship with God, it is taking the time to give EVERY OUNCE of our focus to Him.
Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. – Psalm 46:10
But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. -Proverbs 1:33
Let’s pray that God will be first in our lives and the King of our hearts every day. Let’s give Him our FULL attention! Let Him search your heart today.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You know all about me, my struggles, and my daily life. Please help me to focus intently on You, Your Holy Word, quiet time spent with You, and communicating with You through prayer. I know that You hear me when I pray. Help me to seek You and listen to Your guidance and to Your voice!
In the name of Jesus, I pray,
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! -Psalm 116:2