By Danya M. Jordan
Two summers ago I went away to a week-long, wonderful retreat in Tennessee. We were told the retreat organizers would be procuring our phones and all electronic devices on Monday. We would receive them again on Sunday, right before the shuttle bus would take us back to the airport, departing for home.
I admit I went through withdrawals from my phone the first day. Even without texting, email and social media access, I did not realize I would even miss referencing the Weather app and the calculator.
And then it happened. My senses were heightened.
I noticed the way the breeze rustled through the maple leaves as I rocked in the tree swing. I looked up and paid attention to the shape of the clouds as they glided by. I paid attention to the clink of the chain against the spring on the tree swing as I gently rocked back and forth.
As the week continued, I looked more people in the eye for longer. I noticed the color of their eyes, their laugh lines, the white of their teeth as they smiled. Even my food tasted better as I chewed. I even laughed more. I was much more aware of my surroundings.
Why had I not noticed before? Why have I not paid more attention? What have I been doing? The answer is simple. Rushing and looking down at my phone. Too busy to savor the moments of this precious life we are given.
“Pay” attention. The verb we use before the word “attention” causes me to ponder. Pay. Like paying for an item in a store. There is a cost NOT to pay attention. There is value. There is sacrifice.
May we as leaders desire to pay more attention.
The Bible is full of passages about “paying” attention.
“Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.” –Proverbs 22:17 NIV
“The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your GOD that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” –Deuteronomy 28:13 NIV
“My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight.” –Proverbs 5:1 NIV
“You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” –Isaiah 42:20 NIV
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. –Hebrews 2:1 NIV
“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” –2 Peter 1:19 NIV
Forgive me, Lord. Forgive the blinders of my eyes and heart. Forgive my hurried pace. Forgive me for looking down at my Smartphone and not looking up. Please help me pay more attention. Help me notice You, Lord. Help me pay attention to Your majesty, from the gorgeous full moon to the fresh morning dew in my front lawn to the bright hydrangeas in my yard.. Beauty surrounds us if we look. Paying attention is worth the cost, Lord. I pray to experience life through Your lens and Your timing. In Jesus’ Name, By the Power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
–How would you rank your life’s pace? Please comment.
–Would you challenge yourself to fast from your phone and social media for a week?
–What intentional act will you do to unrush yourself? How? Please comment.
–Please enjoy at least one unrushed moment with your spouse, child, loved one today.
–Savoring a few minutes of prayer and quiet devotional time in the Bible sets a more unrushed pace and peace for the day to pay more attention.