Selective Attention

I consider how, when we learn something new–like a new word or concept–we suddenly seem to encounter it everywhere.

We have what scientists call “selective attention.”

When I focused on my love of verbs like grapple or fritter, I would hear or see these verbs several times a day, as if my love of them somehow generated them.

They were there whether I perceived them or not; I simply encountered them on the day they stayed fresh in my mind.

I think about this seven year journey into mystery and beauty, of whimsy and joy, of finding spiritual allegories in everything. I have selective attention.

The brain observes what it has just learned and what it’s focused on, so I keep beauty fresh, new, and near. I keep Jesus tight to my mind.

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Something New

I notice in Psalm 33, 40, 96, 98, 144, and 149 how we’re invited to sing to the Lord a “new song.” I wonder: Why is it a new song? In Isaiah 42-43, we see the same concept. The Lord is doing a new thing. We sing new songs. As I search the scriptures, I see so many new things happening. Jeremiah proclaimed that we have new mercies each new day.

God is doing something new and fresh and previously unknown. He invites us to sing about this new thing, to make a new song, to experience the new. What a great, new day we have before us!

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Mostly Worship

I love learning more and more about worshipping God. Worship, I’m thinking, means delighting in Him, honoring Him, celebrating Him, responding to Him, communing with Him, and just enjoying Him (to name only a few possibilities of worship). It’s what we do with earthly fathers, in smaller ways, on Father’s Day as a natural, unforced, joyful, and often spontaneous overflow of love.

I think that, no matter what’s happening or where I am, I can worship. Instead of my productivity goals, my meaning-making, my teaching and writing and speaking, my parenting, or whatever else, I’m mostly made to worship today.

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The Feast!

I sit in front of a cherry tree. So many birds hang on the branches, and they gobble entire cherries, swallowing them whole in one or two gulps.

It’s a joyful, abundant moment.

I notice how many kinds of larger birds find refuge here: robins, thrashers, warblers, and sparrows. It’s a feast! The birds stay so busy on those branches, they hardly seem to notice any commotion of children beneath them, of bike riders, or of walkers. Nothing matters but the communion, the feast, and the joy.

 

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Some Things Stay the Same

My daughter invites me to play some hand-clapping games with her, and I’m amazed how little they’ve changed! Miss Mary Mack, Billy Boy, Down, Down Baby and so many others have stood the test of time.

In the 1980’s on the playground, we stood around and played these hand clapping games. I enjoyed this nostalgic moment. So much has changed for my daughters in terms of technology, but so much has also stayed the same.

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“It is I who hold its pillars firm.”

This morning I read this in Psalm 75: We give thanks to you, O god. We give thanks, for your Name is near. Men tell of your wonderful deeds. . . You say, “When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.”

How wonderful to consider the nearness of God! I love the imagery of people quaking and how God holds their pillars firm.

When I’m quaking, God holds my pillars firm. Everything might spin out, fall apart, and seem like chaos on any given day, but God holds everything firmly in His grip.

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Do the Next Thing

I remember the advice of so many who, when overwhelmed, say, “Just do the next thing.”

We don’t need to live this whole life, year, summer, month, or even day all at once. We don’t need to live this whole morning or afternoon. We just need to do the next thing.

And the next.

And the next.

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A Prayer for Peace and Order

This morning, I acknowledge that God is a God of peace and not disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33). I recognize that where sin grows, disorder grows along with it (2 Corinthians 12:20; James 3:16). In the original language, disorder means instability, confusion, and disturbance. It’s a restless, upsetting kind of word.

I pray for order! I pray for stability in my home and in my heart. I pray for peace, a settling down, a calm surface. I pray that my life manifests the orderly, peaceful work of the Holy Spirit. In small ways (like cleaning a disordered playroom or kitchen) and large ways (like ordering my whole life and work), I invite order and peace.

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Praying to Delight in God’s Will and Commands

This morning, I think more about delighting in God’s will for my life and in His commands. So many times, I don’t particularly delight in obeying or in doing things that I know God has called me to do. Too often, I consider the cost, the inconvenience, and the burdens of new tasks. But what if these things truly became a delight? I pray this for my family and for you reading. I pray that knowing God, obeying Him, and bearing the fruit He ordains for your life will overwhelm you with delight.

Psalm 112:1 shows us the blessed man who “finds great delight in [the Lord’s] commands.” And the prayer of the priest in Psalm 119: 35 is this: “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”

Consider all the tasks before you today. Consider how we might take great delight in this day because God is here and appoints us for these things.

May we delight!

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