Ever been told to “pay attention”? Ever tell someone else to “pay attention”? We can all probably answer “yes” to both of these questions.
Every wonder why we so often struggle to pay attention? If pressed to give a short answer, I would say, “comfort and distraction.” Distraction probably makes sense to most. We struggle paying attention often because we have so much other stuff vying for our focus. Comfort, though? For me, yes. Often, actually.
A significant, often overlooked, danger to/enemy of our attention is comfort. Comfort with the world and with our own level of growth.
When we get too comfortable, we let our guards down. As a result, things (e.g., habits, activities, people, etc.) get into our lives – and become distractions – that shouldn’t. We then begin to pay attention to those distractions and make them our focus.
If you’re struggling to visualize this happening, read through the book of Judges. It’s filled with examples of how God’s people got comfortable and failed to pay attention over and over and over again.
To avoid the damage that can happen when you fail to pay attention, take time to assess your own attentiveness to the things of God regularly. The following questions can help:
- Do I regularly read and meditate on Scripture? Am I dwelling on it or rushing through?
- Are my prayer times forced and obligatory?
- How are my reactions? Am I quick to rush to conclusions? Do I make decisions based on far too many assumptions rather than taking time to get the facts?
- Is my attitude like a roller coaster?
- Am I always in a hurry? Do I constantly push others to step up the pace too?
Let the Holy Spirit show you where you need to make adjustments. Let God guide you to a place of focused attention that propels your productivity for him.