Last winter, as a I drove along the fairly large lake I live near, I made sure to pay attention. I kept a keen eye out for a large bird. When I was growing up, this bird would have been a very unusual sight. Today it is becoming more and more common. As I looked out on the ice extending far out into the lake, I spotted what I was looking for. What an amazing site to see a bald eagle almost literally in my back yard! I quickly pulled over, pulled out my binoculars, and took a closer look. I was even more excited to see two eagles: an adult and a juvenile.
As cars drove past, with drivers focused on their destinations, I thought about how many people were missing a spectacular sight – bald eagles in our own backyard. I saw these eagles only because I was looking for them. I could easily have been one of the drivers in the many cars passing by who had no idea there was a stunning sight on the lake.
What Do We Miss When We Don’t Pay Attention?
God is at work all around us. Yet if we do not pay attention, we can miss what He is doing. Western culture is very task oriented. We are taught from a young age to buckle down and get the work done. In its place, buckling down is a good quality. Taken too far, however, a laser focus on the task at hand means we miss what is going on around us.
Years ago, a new neighbor walked past with her toddler in tow. My neighbor said they were on their way to the ice cream store and asked if I would like to join them. I politely declined stating I had things to get done in the house. After completing my task outside, I went back to what I was going – dishes. It was then I realized I had completely missed the opportunity to get to know my neighbor because I was so focused on finishing something that could easily have waited an hour or two.
Learning to cultivate awareness can have tremendous benefits as we begin to see things in plain sight we have previously missed. As we gain greater awareness, God may choose to bless us with a gorgeous sunset. He may point out a friend who needs a word of encouragement. Perhaps He’ll give you the opportunity to speak truth into an unbeliever’s life. And just maybe a majestic bald eagle will soar across the water.