Do you give people your full attention? Recently I read some advice about friendships that said, “When talking to others, show respect by giving the other person your full attention.” My reaction? “Well, duh. That’s pretty simple. Of course you are supposed to give people your full attention.” But as I thought about it, I realized that there was someone very close to me who did not receive the attention he deserved.
For the past several years, something very important was missing from my life. I would usually read my Bible every day. I would talk to God while running, in the shower, as I went about at work, and with my head on my pillow as I went to sleep. My time with God was spent thinking about other things. There were times that I would focus on God, but many days I would let the activities of the day or tiredness crowd out my time alone with God. I was never really stopping to give God my full attention.
Ouch. God has been my best, closest friend, and I was treating him like trash. God was loving me and I was doing my own thing. Finally, he had my full attention. I knew something had to change. I knew I needed God close to me like I need food and water.
So I set a timer on my phone. I sat down to pray and said, “God, talking to You is the only thing I’m doing until that timer goes off.” For the past month, that’s the way I have started and ended each day. Those times with God are short, but they are essential to my survival. I need God’s words of life every day.
That was about a month ago. What has happened since then? God spoke to me. I received direction. I received peace. I received joy. My life’s course was corrected. A light shined on my path. There is now a spring in my step that has not been there for a long time. I am at home again, in a place better than you can imagine: at the feet of Jesus.
What now? Check out this chapter from the book of Isaiah. This chapter sums up what I have rediscovered in the past month.
Read it. Think about it. Act.
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”