Are You Paying Attention?

(Mash that play button!)

(This is low-key, one of my favorite songs/albums ever)


Everything that we consume indicates that “faster is better”. From drive-through lines to iPad processing power to getting a college degree, our focus on the “end result” has completely distorted out appreciation of the process. It’s become “normal” to hate doing homework to get a good grade, or begrudgingly driving far distances to get to the vacation spot, when really, that’s what it’s all about. Hate to say it folks, but we’ve been duped.

In the scope of life, if the “end result” is death, don’t you want to enjoy the journey?!

We’re dealing with the measure of years, decades even, and we’re intoxicatingly captivated and limited by our affection of “living in the moment.” Social media is the obvious culprit in this scenario, and while it’s not inherently an evil thing, we gobble it up daily to satiate our instant gratification needs. Now, I’m not gonna try to convince you to get rid of Snapchat or anything like that — I don’t have one cause I know it would consume my time like none other, and you’re free to indulge in dog face filters to your heart’s content. But here’s a question that I want to hit you kindof hard: 

How many missed moments is too many?

Significance is bursting at the seams in each and every moment you inhabit, and it’s there for those who are looking for it. But in our attempts to make a “story” out of the ordinary for the sake of entertainment, have we become blind to the moments that really matter? Are you too busy experiencing significant moments through a Snapchat filter that you’ve forgotten what’s really significant at all? Social media has taught us to only really care about the things that are right in front of us, and as a result, we’ve missed some of the most important moments in life, all in the name of “entertainment.” Snapchat and other platforms like it aren’t solely to blame, but they do dull our awareness of significance if not properly stewarded. 

Awareness of significance is really just your attention span. To illustrate a point, I’m gonna put a large, bold line of words here and see who’s guilty of skimming through and reading just the clever one-liners…

If this is one of the only sentences you read in this post, you probably have the attention span of a fourth-grader.

If I’m being real, I’ve been guilty of this too… reading through articles, books, messages, etc. and just looking for the main points. Getting to the “end result” with as little work as possible to get there, right? It’s sad that we’ve gotten to this point, but what does it really mean? Why is it important to realize and change?

Your attention span is directly proportionate to your appreciation of the process.

There was a point in history where a majority of people couldn’t read. It was considered an honor and a privilege if you were taught how to read because education wasn’t a luxury that all could afford. And if you can believe this, there are still a huge population of people in the world the don’t know how to read, and would kill for the opportunity. But when it comes down to it, we find it to be a treacherous act to read more than a few verses in the Bible at a time (thanks Bible App for that one). To actually read an entire novel is simply ludicrous in light of SparkNotes. There’s a certain grudge that many people hold against reading because it’s the process required in school that takes most time to attain the “end result” from. Again, “faster is better” is at work here… and as we drift further and further into this disdain for reading, the shorter our attention spans get.

Now, I know that I’m no F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, or J.K. Rowling… but even if nobody reads this, I’m still gonna post it because I’ve committed to growing my skills and being consistent in my aspiration to do great things over the long-haul. This thing really isn’t for you, it’s for me… cause this is part of my process, and I’m gonna stick with it. It takes me a while to get to the “end result” of writing these things, but I know that I’m gonna benefit from doing so. Just is the case with really any worthwhile process in life. So, I’m gonna take this thing a step further…

If you want to truly enjoy the journey of life, stop skipping through videos, songs, books, and conversations.

Whether you know it or not, all of those small choices are affecting your appreciation of the process — they’re destroying your attention span. So how do we fix this? It might be grueling at first, but watch a long movie and actually pay attention to the details. Listen to an entire album of music. Read the entire series of books. And for pete’s sake, at least finish the song you started playing! Start small and work your way up. How do you think you’re gonna be able to endure the long-lasting, difficult times of life if you can’t even complete a 5 minute YouTube video?!

 

BIG IDEA: Expand your attention span by learning to love the process.

 

I pray that in this day, you’ll truly grasp the brevity of this life. What you’re doing RIGHT NOW matters so stinking much — stop wasting your time! You know exactly what you need to change, so take heart and just do it! You’re not only stealing significance from yourself, but think of the individual destiny that you’re depriving the world around you of. Your small actions matter so much more than you can even imagine. I hope that you’ll see the value of each moment the you’ve been given, breathing in the blessing and the sustainment of the One who crafted you so wonderfully. May your appreciation for the process be ever expanding as you become more diligent and practiced in the discipline of adding value to this life. Let go of the things that are holding you back, and move forward in the grace that’s been afforded to you in this day. You can and will do great things, friend. I believe in you, and so does the God that gave you such a grand purpose. Keep moving forward in all that you do.