Getting Our Attention, and Missed Opportunities

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If you have children, then you understand what I am saying when I tell you my mind is exhausted from the attention grabbing attempts of my kids. I have 4, and they all want my attention, they even compete for it at times. When my dog climbs into my lap, my 2 year old will rush over and try to push him off, climb into my lap for just a minute, then climb back down. He has to let the dog know who owns my lap, already showing 10150407652477456signs of that male conquering spirit, lol.

Each of my kids has their own way of getting my attention, and we have a method we call the “interrupt rule” that they are supposed to follow (put a hand on my shoulder or arm and wait until I can give my full attention), but of course they often forget to follow it. My daughter,  DaBee , will text me questions and pictures she takes with her phone, or come over to where I am and start talking 111940127455about whatever comes to mind. She gets excited and shows me pictures she draws, or things she sews. She is so talented! My oldest boy, “Jonenator Dude” (JD), he waits until I am alone to talk about his different collections. JD can also be competitive  with the others and try to demand I give him my full attention. I am teaching him how important it is to be considerate and patient, some days those aren’t easy lessons to teach. My middle boy, “Little Red” (LR), he often copies his older brother, or tries to get my attention away from JD, in order to show me his latest drawing or tell me about his Lego creation or a game he’s excited about playing. My 2 year old, “Doctor Oo!” (DO),  lately he will stand behind me and put his hands on my cheeks or in my hair. Sometimes he just sits next to me and takes hold of my hand. He loves to be playful and show me his toys by pretending to shoot me with them, or holding them up close in my face, and often I don’t mind at all.

But, I have learned from past mistakes. Those times when I have been too busy to look up and listen, or when distracted and frustrated, I pushed them away… I can’t get those opportunities back. I lost out.

72083967455As God’s child, I don’t feel I have to try to get His attention. But, I’ve been thinking about how I become aware of God trying to get my attention. How many times have I missed Him during my distracted daily activities, or when I’m frustrated by something or someone? When do I become aware, then give Him my full attention?

Sometimes, I have a song or a verse on my mind that woos my attention to Him. Sometimes I have a sudden urge to pray about something specific, or for someone specific. At times a subject comes to mind with a sadness that overwhelms my spirit and I can’t help but pray and seek God on behalf of what He places on my heart.

I am desperate to not miss Him, to not miss an opportunity to pray or speak into someone’s life, or just be available in the way He impresses on my heart. Except when I’m distracted by the cares of this life. Then I miss Him.

But, because I am distracted, I don’t miss that I miss Him.

That makes my heart sad, when I take the time to let myself think deep on that.

Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” (NASB)

You’re Almost There…. Why Did You Stop?

Have you ever tried to talk someone through something, blindly? Just like a blind person has to rely on other senses, talking someone through something you can’t see also requires the same. A blind person relies more on their sense of smell, their sense of touch, and their sense of hearing than a seeing person does. Talking someone through something you can’t see, but you know what the outcome should be, and you understand how to get there, it’s very similar. To be helpful, you have to rely more on your patience and understanding for sure. But, most importantly is your ability to communicate in a way they can relate to and follow easily, as well as your willingness to listen and demonstrate graciousness and consideration.

Last night I told my son to clean a mess he has been neglecting: the hay that falls out of our bunny’s cage. He didn’t want to, and in his frustration he did something that caused him to hurt himself. Nothing serious, but it would have been avoided had he not reacted with frustration. So, then, that started a chain reaction of his getting more frustrated, which caused him to push my frustrated button. But, instead of giving in to it, I let him just continue to react, because I wanted my husband to see what I sometimes deal with when he isn’t around. After a few minutes of loud growls, a little stomping, and vocal complaints, my husband snuck upstairs to observe, then interact with him. In his frustration, he neglected to follow some of my instructions, and also wisdom gained from past experience, and he clogged the vacuum, which gave fuel to more frustration. Since his dad was outside of the situation, he was able to handle it much calmer than I was. The situation was resolved, the mess cleaned up (for the most part), and he and I talked things out and worked through it without arguing. Peace is such a beautiful thing!

It’s difficult to communicate in a way that is received well and respectfully, heard accurately, and is easy to follow. Like the old example of explaining how to make a pb and j sandwich to someone who has never made one. It’s a funny, realistic, eye-opening way to see how people follow what you are saying. Sometimes it’s not how you say it but how someone hears it. It takes trial and error.

Recently, I was working with a loved one trying to honestly help them with something and make it as easy as possible, blindly over the phone. I had the picture in my head and the knowledge of what should have been the outcome, but something entirely unexpected happened instead. I realize it was time to step back and wait for them to be ready to try again. Working frustrated does nothing to help any situation.

I have this picture of God doing this with us. He knows the direction we need to go in, and He is communicating through various methods: His Word, Godly people, to our spirit as we seek Him, even through nonbelievers. Are we listening? I can see Him encouraging us, gently giving us instructions, excitedly explaining what to do, where to go, what to say…. And I see Him asking “Why did you stop? You are so close to hitting the mark! You are almost an overcomer. Don’t give up! I can see what the outcome will be, just follow the sound of My voice, just do as I instruct. You can do this! I have full confidence in You! You are so close…..”

What areas do you see where your own communication skills can be honed? What areas can you improve your listening?

Most importantly: have you faltered in following after God? He is our Help in times of frustration and trouble.

Amen?