Some days I’m inundated with too much stimulation. I’ve stared at a computer screen far too long or walked through airports saturated with people and advertisements. Did you know that we see up to 5,000 ads a day? That’s a lot of information to sort through in addition to everything else I see. No wonder my eyes and head hurt by the end of the day!
When I’m visually over stimulated, I take many things for granted. For instance, I don’t notice the green sprouts of grass coming up nor the new, fuzzy, light green buds on the apple trees in our front yard. I’m in a hurry, heading somewhere on automatic pilot.
Because I’m not paying attention, I miss the morning sun that gradually lights up the valley out our window as God says, “Good Morning Laura, welcome to this day."
I dream about a warm beach somewhere, anywhere but here in this dreary, cold and damp April afternoon. All I’m thinking is, “Get me out of South Dakota!”
I overlook the yellowing eyes and graying skin of a friend who is ill because I’m preoccupied with my mundane to-do list for the day. I missed the chance to speak love and care into his life.
When I realized my friend was ill, it hit me hard. I profess to care about people, and I missed it because I wasn’t in the moment. That got my attention! I wasn’t present to others or myself. Something important was hiding right in front of me, and I missed it.
Got My Attention
Often, God gets my attention with something tragic or upsetting. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to be blind to all that God has for me.
God gave us eyes to see the world: to take in the beauty of nature and humankind. Likewise, we need to notice the pain or needs of others and see life from Gods deep and more meaningful perspective.
Sight is one of the life-giving senses God gives us. Join me in discovering new landscapes, with “new eyes” right in your backyard. God, we ask you to help us see and experience our ordinary lives differently. Help us to observe and pay attention in love. Reveal to us those things or people to which we are blind.
Paying attention is the first step in noticing God and how he is at work and play around us. Then again, seeing God at work includes so much more than just paying attention.
In Awaken Your Senses, the authors describe paying attention in love like this:
“Seeing God around us requires coupling our attention with love. When we look with love at something, we regard it. We notice the nature of it; we respect and appreciate it for what it is.
When we blend attention with love, we shift to a new level of awareness. Love and attention give us a profound look at God everywhere around us.
A New Way
This next week, start each day focusing on your God-given sense of sight. Take the opportunity to slow down and experience more of your life, others and God. Here are a couple ways you can pay attention in love.
1. Find a common place in your life to sit a bit and look around. Maybe sit at your kitchen table, on your porch, in your car or workstation.
a. Take three minutes and write down all that you see. Every little thing.
b. Ask yourself, “What do you notice about your list? What do you feel? Is there meaning in your list?
c. Do this each day for the next week if possible.
d. How is God revealing himself in this exercise?
e. Journal your findings.
f. Share your awareness on this social media site to give others inspiration.
2. At various times throughout your day, change your view. Go outside if you spend most of your time indoors. If you sit at your computer or desk, walk around for a different perspective. Drive home a different way than normal. Go outside on a clear night, look at the sky and notice what’s up there.
Adjust your view or outlook and pay attention in love to what you see. James Elkins, in his book, The Object Stares Back; On Nature of Seeing, says, “Seeing alters the thing that is seen and transforms the seer.” Being intentional, slowing down and observing the world, will change you.
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. ~2 Corinthians 3:18
With the veil lifted and new eyes, we see all that was previously hidden in plain sight. When we pay attention in love, it all reflects the glory of God.
Glory, God’s glory, changes us. Consequently, we can influence others. Each day is new and fresh. As the authors of Awaken Your Senses promise, “By engaging your sense of sight like this, you’ll awaken to the wonder of God all around you—a joyous, sensuous, spiritual awakening!”
What’s hiding in plain sight for you? Please share your discoveries in the comment section.