Saturday, September 17, 2011


It was about twenty years ago in another state. The wedding rehearsal was over and the party hadn’t started. One of the groomsmen acting like he had had too much to drink was calling attention to himself in a big way. Everyone noticed his immaturity. I’m quite sure it was not a conscious decision on his part – he was acting out of who he pictured himself to be. I wish I could say I was sad for him – but really I was mad; mad that he was taking the attention away from the bride and groom.

Every morning I wake up with needs: the need for security, the need for significance, the need for attention and more. Every morning I have a choice, will I look to God to meet those fundamental needs or will I look to others to meet them and hope they do. Recently I’ve been grappling with my need for attention; what is appropriate attention; what is non-appropriate? I don’t want to be like that groomsman. 

Understanding how I define attention helps me. For example, I am ___________; I want you to notice that I am ___________. If you don’t notice – don’t meet my attention needs – my pride is squashed.  It’s like my three year old GRAND-daughter saying, look at me – give me your attention -- as she hops across the living room on one foot. When you are three years old, the attention request is cute.

Many stories are recorded in the gospels of people calling out for Jesus’ attention, like the blind beggar in Mark 10. Jesus responds; the attention need is met; the begging stops. I am challenged – do I call out to Jesus to meet my attention needs? Does my begging cease when Jesus meets my need? Or do I look to my friends to meet my attention needs by my doing something or saying something that communicates please notice me!

I need to be asking how does God define attention? That leads to appropriate attention. God is very creative; meeting attention needs may look different every day. I am becoming aware that I need to be purposely asking God to meet my attention needs.

This summer I read Awakening the Quieter Virtues by Gregory Spencer. In his chapter on modesty – another descriptor of appropriate attention – I was challenged by these questions:
·        Do I consistently draw attention to myself in conversations?
·        Do I often judge others for not measuring up?  (arrgh – like the groomsman)
·        Do I think that others spend a lot of time evaluating my actions?
·        Do I attempt to elicit praise to shore up my insecurities?

I am convicted! Dr. Spencer points out that Jesus gave two commandments: love God and love others. When I am pre-occupied with wanting your attention, I am adding a third – love me!

Dear God, will you please meet my attention needs today? Thank you. Amen

“And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention …”
II Peter 1:19

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