“We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won’t drift away.” (CEV)
My three girls all have attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.). You might think this is a disadvantage. Rather, since the biology of their brain doesn’t have a good filter for sifting out all the stimuli they hear each day, each of them are much more intentional about picking out the voice they want to hear and engaging with it. Whereas you and I might take this for granted, my girls know the value of creating the skills to pay attention.
We stand at the cusp of Lent, just two days from now. A healthy way of looking at this important season in the Christian Year is that it is a time to listen. It’s the opportunity and privilege of giving our complete attention to Jesus as we plod along the 40-day path to Easter. And we need to develop some solid skills in paying attention, whether we have A.D.D. or not.
The cost of not developing such skills is that we will drift away. Taking for granted that we are Christians, that we know something about salvation, and are basically good people might only be setting us up for spiritual failure. That is, we think we already know about Christ’s person and work of salvation, so we don’t really pay attention. Bad idea.
Assuming we are paying attention is not the same thing as actually doing it.
Assumptions lead to drifting away from truth. We are meant to have continual and constant reminders of Christ and his redemptive events. This is what Lent intends for us. To ignore the wisdom of two-thousand years of church practice puts us in a precarious position of being lost in a sea of competing voices.
For the next six weeks, make the choice that you will pay attention to Christ each day through:
· Reading the Scripture every day with a combination of standing and sitting, reading silently and out loud.
· Holding a cross or other Christian reminder in your hand and feel free to fidget with it.
· Journaling your thoughts in a notebook.
· Imposing a time limit on yourself each day for the next 40 days.
· Using different versions of the Bible to read throughout Lent.
· Going outside occasionally and praying while walking.
· Focusing on your breathing. Breathe out: “Speak Lord.” Breathe in: “I am listening.”
· Drinking some coffee, tea, or something soothing.
· Being mindful of distractions and acknowledging them without judging yourself.
The point is to have an intentional plan for paying attention. Don’t assume you’ll just be focused.
May your journey with Jesus this season be a fresh experience in knowing him better.