You have My Undivided Attention by Chase Butler
By Chase Butler
MP3 Teaching Download
By Jeremy Lopez
I was meeting with someone last week who noticed my ring and asked how long I had been married. "Marriage is grand," he said, "and divorce is five hundred grand." You could feel the tragedy even through the joke. I laughed somewhat nervously and paused to let him elaborate. Just behind the humor was an obvious sadness.
A few days later another person told me about his childhood and the pain he felt from being made fun of for being overweight. In the brief time we were together he told the whole story from elementary school to today. As an overweight kid he dreaded shopping for clothes because nothing fit. To this day he won't even step foot into a clothing store because of the deep scars from the criticism about his body.
The reality is that everyone has something they're dealing with, from issues as simple as a stressful day at work to travesties as heavy as losing a child. Since last week's post, I've made it a point to try to listen well, and to no surprise, people have opened up about what's weighing them down.
I want to be brief but pointed today, because we desperately need the reminder...
Every single person is waging a war we are oblivious to. Our unexpected, simple act of kindness in the form of a listening ear could be the turning point for a wearied soul. It's not coincidence that Jesus said loving your neighbor (everyone you come into contact with) is second only to loving God.
I think the greatest challenge we face today, right this moment, is distraction. And our greatest opportunity is undivided attention to the things God has called us to--intimate, genuine, loving relationships with the real people sitting across from us.
So pay attention today. Someone needs you.
It's no secret Lacie and I love animals. We currently have one per 270 square-feet in our home. Lacie is excellent at picking them out, too. They're all rescues, and they're each awesome in their own unique way. I want to talk about one in particular, though, because she's taught me something about our relationship to God and to others. We adopted Eleanor at a time when we were "just looking" at the humane society, as the story always goes.
I think we all have default modes we go to when we are tired, bored, angry, or hurt. I remember a time in my life when I intentionally tried to do whatever the opposite of my first inclination was, even with unimportant, simple things. Once it was raining when I pulled up at my apartment, so instead of running in I stood there and got soaked. You don't realize how relaxing an outdoor shower is until you aren't running to escape it or complaining about getting wet.
There is a gas station I stop at periodically on my way home where a very angry man works. I'll refer to him as Angry Ninja because in conversation he once told me he practices martial arts. Angry Ninja towers over me and is always wearing a hip, knit beanie. If you walked in right now he would tell you his grievances with little introduction. You've met these people before. They're always prepared, ready to unpack today's dose of "everything sucks" at the first opportunity. Always something different, always negative.