Day Four – Learning to Pay Attention

READ:  Today’s passage in the SOLO Devotional is Exodus 3:1-6.  This is the story about Moses and the burning bush.


THINK:  This particular section focuses in on Moses’ encounter with the burning bush and asks if you have ever experienced a unique encounter with the living God and what it was like.  Then it adds:  “God is holy.  What difference does that make in your life?”


PRAY:  “Ask God to reveal himself to you in a fresh way, a way that he has never revealed himself before.”


LIVE:  “Find a quiet place and spend a few moments in utter silence, paying attention to those aspects of your life that you often neglect:  people, situations, quiet moments, creation, and so on.  As you do this, look for God waiting there to interact with you.


For the most part, the last 3 days, I have shared what I’ve gotten out the passage immediately, letting that lead to the next part, trusting that God will take me where He needs me to go.  Truth be told, I arrived in Lynchburg on Sunday, July 6th, for classes that began on the 7th.  I will be leaving on the 19th.  I decided that I would leave the television off, when I wasn’t in class, and work on whatever God brought to mind.  Initially, I figured that I would just work on getting back into the habit of having a daily quiet time or devotional.  But, I didn’t know where to start.  Then, sitting in my Basic Counseling Skills class, last week, God opened up some pretty deep emotional wounds that I hadn’t really ever dealt with, so I started working on those.  That’s what precipitated me buying this book and why I’ve decided to start making this my daily blog post.


As I read the passage from today and was pondering what each section said, I couldn’t think of where I wanted to start, and I didn’t really want to just sit down and type out the book word-for-word.  But as I started typing, I realized that God had been showing all day, and for the past several, what He wanted me to share today.  And it really does have to do with paying attention.


My family has been going through some pretty heavy stuff over the past 3 years and mostly I have been left feeling like God just dropped my heart and broke it.  The last thing I have wanted to do, most of the time, is get with Him and discuss this.  If you’ve ever been burnt in a relationship, you know the meaning of the saying:  “Once bitten, twice shy.”  The only problem is:  I consider myself to be a Christian.  How can I have that kind of attitude about, or toward, a God that I had always believed had my best interest at heart and that everything He did was supposed to be for my good.  To say I was conflicted would be an understatement.  Nevertheless, I came to Lynchburg with one prayer:


“God, I am going to dedicate my free time to you.  Please show up.  I’ve been floundering and I am tired of feeling hopeless and helpless and of feeling like it is pointless to talk to you about it because I was talking before and you let this happen.  So, I don’t know what You’re going to have to do and I don’t care, but please, let me see You.”


I have sat in a lot of silence since the 6th of July and have been ministered to in ways that I haven’t in a long time.  As I mentioned earlier, the class I had last week opened up some wounds that I didn’t know were still festering.  It also shed some light on some things that I had needed to work on that I had been choosing not to deal with.  But, He did so in such a way that I have been able to see my own brokenness.


Things have been brought into the light that had been buried.  Rotten things that needed to be excised from my life, but that I had gotten so used to that they had just become a part of who I was.  One day, one of my instructors said something that I thought was strange at first:  Your clients need their pain.  They need their hurt.  You cannot just waltz into their lives and demand they give it up or tell them they are wrong for holding onto it until you know where it comes from and what it does for them.  When he said it, it sounded like one of the most dysfunctional things I had ever heard.  I couldn’t believe it was coming out of a counselor’s mouth.  But then, I started looking at my own life and my own baggage and seeing how I had my own issues I had been clinging to, that I had allowed to define me, or dictate my own actions.  And when I started exposing those to the light and trying to get rid of them, it almost felt like a piece of my soul was being yanked out of me.  And I found myself clamoring desperately to hang on to them with one hand while I was trying to push them away with the other.  How could I possibly want to hold on to something that was causing so much pain or keeping me from having the relationship with God that He wants me to have?  Why would I allow something so vile to have such control over my life when I know that God commands that we have no other gods before Him?


I will not share with you just what it is God has revealed that I have been neglecting in my own life.  But I will tell you that what God has revealed to me over the course of my time here in Lynchburg is just how serious He is that nothing have power over us besides Him.  He has shown me the lengths to which He will go to bring to the light those areas of my life that need to be exposed.  And He has shown that, though it will hurt, He is not doing it to hurt me, but to restore me.


So, if Satan came to steal, kill, and destroy but God came that we might have life and that more abundantly, then why I am I fighting so hard to hold onto something that is choking the life out of me?  And why am I not turning to The Way, The Truth, and The Life for my deliverance from those things?


Bringing it back to Paying Attention.  We were encouraged to look for God waiting to interact with us.  To pay attention to where He might have been trying to get our attention but we were too busy or too loud to hear it or notice.  Let me just comment on how effective the silence I have imposed upon myself has been.  I have been very actively NOT DEALING WITH God for almost a year.  I have been staying up too late, until I’m just exhausted, using my Netflix account and OnDemand for all they are worth, driving myself to distraction, just so I didn’t have to sit in the silence and hear anything from God.  As a friend of mine put it once, God was there and He knew it and I wasn’t going to run away, but I wasn’t going to talk to Him and I certainly wasn’t going to be obedient.  I was going to actively rebel and make Him watch, but I would be back.


Please, don’t judge.  Save whatever harsh commentary may be rattling around inside your head.  I’m just sharing the words from someone I know who was expressing how she felt during a particularly rough time she had and how she dealt with it.  They just happened to resonate with me when she related her story.  I merely added them to say that I was actively avoiding putting myself in a position where I might hear something else disappointing from God.  I didn’t want to hear that I might be screwing up again.  I didn’t want to hear that I wasn’t going to get my way again.  I didn’t want to hear that He still wanted me right where He had me.  Those things I was capable of figuring out on my own since my situation wasn’t changing.  So…I just didn’t go to Him.


And, as a counseling student I can tell you, most people’s greatest motivator is: AVOIDANCE OF PAIN.  I’ve been having a lot of avoidance issues this past year.  But, I was finally tired of feeling that way, and it’s hard for me to justify running away from a problem for too long, because I know that I can’t run forever and the problem with be with me the whole time.  So…I decided to start paying attention.  It was time.  And I am convinced that everyone that God has put in my path since I’ve been here at Liberty had been a divine appointment designed to show me that He was listening when I asked Him to reveal Himself to me.  But, if I hadn’t come here expecting to see God, and if I hadn’t been paying attention, I’d have missed it completely!


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