Hearing my baby fuss, I scoop her off the mat. She’s bored and getting tired, but it’s not nap time yet.
I glance around. What can I show her that will capture her interest?
The window. She likes looking out.
Turning toward it, I spot movement. A neighbourhood cat is just outside.
I waste no time in settling my baby on a low bookshelf in front of the window.
Supporting her from behind, I notice that her head is tilted down. She’s not looking outside. She’s looking at her toes.
Attempting to navigate the tightrope between redirecting my baby’s attention and scaring away the fluffy cat, I speak eagerly, “Do you see the cat?”
No reaction from my baby.
I try snapping my fingers where I want her to look. “There’s an orange cat outside.”
The large cat is beginning to meander away.
I tap the window ever so slightly. “Look outside.”
My baby’s attention remains transfixed on her toes.
As the cat prepares to round a corner out of sight, I throw caution to the wind.
I tap louder. “It’s a cat!”
The cat wanders out of sight and my baby, well, she is still admiring those toes of hers.
My baby gets excited when she spots our cat, so I thought surely she would be fascinated by a large orange cat outside. Her interest in her toes started several weeks back. Wouldn’t a cat be a thrilling change?
It likely would have been, if only she had looked up and noticed it.
Then I pause to wonder, “How often does God feel this way about me?”
How often does He try to show me something new and bigger – something beyond myself? Yet there I am just staring down at my toes totally unaware of His attempts to capture my attention.
What is it that holds my attention, distracting me from what God wants to show me? Is it something bad?
Maybe, but not necessarily.
My baby’s fascination with her toes is, indeed, a healthy part of baby development. She has, so to speak, “found her toes”.
When she first found her toes we were excited.
Now that she has spent much of the past several weeks studying those toes, I wanted to take her further. I wanted to show her something new in the world beyond her toes.
Is the same true of me?
Is there some good and healthy area of life that I have become fixated on for too long? Does God want to show me something more? Something beyond myself?
(Please note that when I speak of something new and something more, I do not mean something beyond the Bible. God never contradicts His written Word.)
Are there examples of this sort of problem, where someone’s attention has been grabbed by their toes when God wants to show them something more?
The disciples sometimes had this problem, as we read in Matthew 16:5-12:
When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Then they understood that He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (NIV)
Can you think of other examples?
Okay, that’s a deep thought, but how do I apply it to my life?
How do I tune my ears to be ready when He calls for my attention?
In the past, when God sought my attention, He has done so through my standard daily Bible reading time. At other times, it has been through the teaching of godly pastors. A wise word from a friend or family member is yet another way God has grabbed my attention before.
As I go about my day today, may I be intentional to include time in the Bible, solid Christian teaching, and wise friends, as I keep my eyes open to what God may want to capture my attention with.