I have noticed a pattern developing when we stop for fast food that has a scary correlation in my life. When I place our order I am asked by the voice in the box if I want any additional sauces with my order. Each time I say no. Yet, when I get to the window where they hand the bag of food I find it loaded with packets of sauces. Way more sauce than two of us could use even if I had said yes.
How wasteful I feel throwing away all those packets. I tried saving them for a time, but then wondered what I was going to do with a stock of sauce packets I never wanted in the first place. So out they go after all.
Then it struck me – how often do I think I’ve been attentive to someone, perhaps even asking a question of them, only to realize I don’t really know what they just said to me (I am sure no one else has experienced this). Essentially I’ve just wasted their time and trust in me, something far more valuable than plastic pouches of sauce. I allowed them to talk to me, but never engaged in listening.
It is bad enough that I have noticed I do this with my husband, family, co-workers and friends. But even worse, I do this with God. I spend time in His word each morning. I ponder what I read and believe He is saying to me. I pray for application to my life. And then hours (or sometimes, sadly, minutes) later I think or respond in a way that shows I totally missed what God said to me. Thankfully He (and my friends, family and associates) extend a great deal of grace and second chances to me.
So help me please dear friends and readers . . . . share with me your best tips for keeping focused and attentive to those around you when your mind is begging to float away to a myriad of other thoughts.