Maybe it’s because in my personality I’m unstructured. Maybe it’s because I’m adventurous and innovative. But I’ve noticed that I find myself drawn in many directions as so much vies for my attention. Most of the things are good. Some are neutral. And a few, to be blunt, are bad—in that they do not produce the true life I so deeply desire.
Just the other day, in a life giving moment with the Lord, I felt like I was having a bit of Charles Dicken’s “The Christmas Carol” experience where I had a spectator’s view of my life. God was showing me all that grabbed my attention. It was a little dizzying to be honest.
As I processed what I saw, I felt like the Lord was asking me to ‘pay attention to what was grabbing my attention.’ In that moment what God said was both an exhortation and a warning. The exhortation was to slow down and ‘grab’ what He was trying to say or show me. The warning was to be aware of the traps to distract, hook and lock me into fruitless pursuits which regularly are associated with fear, worry, anxiousness, and often anger.
“Pay attention to what grabs your attention.” This was something I knew I had to simply sit with and ponder. Something in my heart was being spoken to. This truth could not just be understood with my mind.
I have know that God wants my attention, my focus. I didn’t realize how much of it was being syphoned off toward other, seemingly innocent interests. And I saw that when my attention is dialed in on Him, He desires to engage and direct and move me at the level of my heart. He wants me to see Him moving. His goal is to build and bestow new levels of faith and courage in those “whose hearts are fully committed to him”. And as I remain focused on Him, He begins to show and reveal his heart to me in what He’s up to! And this was a critical point of breakthrough…He begins to show. He reveals slowly and purposefully. He doesn’t throw the pearls of His heart to us all at once.
As I have been processing this, I dug into His Word for more clarity, and I found two treasures:
- Ezekiel 40:4 “The angel of God said to me, “Son of man, see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you…”
Here I learned that God desires to teach and reveal the bigger story and purpose to what we may be experiencing. It’s our job to hone in with complete focus to what He’s about to reveal!
- 2 Kings 6:15-17 “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
This story reveals the difference when we focus only on what our physical eyes can see versus what our spiritual eyes can see. When all seems stacked against us, we must be reminded that we serve the one and only God who commands angel armies!
The danger is when we find comfort or self-justification in choosing to continue focusing on the things that in some strange way seem to “grab” us away from the face of God.Sometimes these things are seemingly benign. Sometimes they are cancerous. Regardless, they steel our attention. And when we try to break free we find the things staying with us…like briars or stick tight weeds. It’s part of the ploy of our enemy. Distract us. Grab our attention. Let it feel good. Pull us in further. Get us further interested and hooked. Lock us down.
But if we invite the Lord in and ‘pay attention to Him who grabs our attention’, He can break us free from the junk that bind us. Then we can ‘fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.’