“Expectant people are watchful, always looking for Him they expect, always ready to find Him in whatever comes along; however strange it may be, they always think He might be in it…”
– The Treatises, Meister Eckhart
1. Pay Attention to His Love
God is constantly present to you and I, paying attention to us, listening to us and showing up in our lives. We just don’t see it and are many times blind to His loving care. We don’t create space or have practices in place to let God love us: Sabbath, soul friends that listen to us, slow walks in nature that nurture us, reflective reading of scripture.
A working-class woman in Ireland once put it this way: “It’s like when I play hide-and-seek with the wee ones,” she said. “I always leave a bit of myself sticking out. If I’m behind the curtain, I make sure my shoes are sticking out. If I’m behind the tree, I leave a little of my coat showing. I want them to find me!”
God is like that: invisible to the eye, but wanting us to find him!
When I wake up in the morning, I needn’t say, “Oh, how am I going to find time to pray in such a busy day?!” Rather, I can say, “I wonder how God is going to ‘stick out’ in my day today? How will I see and hear Him? Where ,when, how will God come to me today? What gifts are waiting for me?” (Source: Leadership Transformations, Silencio)
2. Pay Attention to Yourself
Notice what energizes you and what depletes your energy. Stay with what stirs you. Take regular times of being alone in an undistracted, unhurried manner in order to name what your soul really wants and needs.
What mix of relational time, alone time, recreational time, personal growth and missional time, financial giving and simplicity are needed to be the best version of myself?
Be honest and ask--What type of trellis is necessary for my vine to thrive?
Say no to quick fixes that can cover up what you really long for.
People who aren’t finding satisfaction in Christ and what He has to offer will find themselves increasingly tempted with frivolous entertainments, lust, alcohol misuse, anger, ego gratification, deceit, etc. The justification becomes, “I sacrifice so much for others that I need a little something for myself.” (James 1:13-15) If we find ourselves tempted by these things, recognize it as an invitation to delight in Christ!
3. Pay Attention to Others
There is an unhealthy side of paying too much attention to others:
Ego focused on what others say and think about me.
Decisions based on man pleasing and insecurity.
Desiring and then being disappointed when those I serve don’t meet my needs.
Family relationships suffer.
I feel like a starving chef that constantly cooks up food for others.
Loving others and being fully present to them is at the heart of the gospel. Noticing, welcoming and paying attention to the Christ in our spouses, children, and communities is a core desire of most God-honoring people I know.
How is it possible to do this in a healthy way?
I love what the Passion Translations says in Phil 2: 1,3:
“Look at (notice, pay attention) how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy.”
Are my days marked by experiencing a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and feeling His tenderness? Only then will my life overflow with joy and I will walk with tender attentiveness towards others in “authentic humility putting others first and viewing others as more important than myself.”