Pay Attention

“. . . pay attention . . .” 


“My child, pay attention to what your father and mother tell you.” (Proverbs 1:8)

We came home from the grocery store Monday afternoon to find this pair of twin fawns nestled into the soft grass in our back yard.  They seemed perfectly content to stretch out in the grass and nibble from time to time.  When our dogs decided to wander out into their fenced-in part of the yard it startled the fawns and they took off for the woods.


Since Monday I’ve found myself wondering, “How did she do it?”  How in the world did that mother deer get those two babies to stay nestled in the grass while she walked away to do other things?  Now, I’ve seen a mother cow gently (and sometimes not so gently) push its calf when the calf was not where the mother wanted it to be.  I’ve even heard a mother cow bellow a, “Get over here!” call to her wandering calf and seen the calf make a beeline for its mother.  But how in the world did that mother deer communicate such a complicated message as, “Look, you two stay here.  I’ve got some errands to run.  I’ll be right back.”

Communicating with one another requires a lot more attention and energy than we’re often willing to give it.  The results of our inattentiveness are disappointment, misunderstanding, anger, betrayal, confusion, etc.  Good communication requires that when we say something we follow it.  That is, we don’t merely say something and disengage, walk away, or zone out to plan our next rebuttal.  Instead, we follow our words as they register with the one who received them.  We watch to see how the message takes shape for the other.  We wait to see if the words communicated our true feelings or if clarification is needed.  If we truly love the other then we want to make sure our communicating is a means for drawing closer.  If that’s not happening then we need to take lessons from the mother deer, because she certainly knew how to get through to her fawns.

Listening to God takes the same attention and energy.  It’s not difficult to communicate with God, we just speak our heart – we pray in whatever shape or form that might take.  However, listening for God to speak to us sometimes can be as mysterious as the mother deer’s messages to her twins.  I don’t know how the mother did it, but the results were clear.  The twins listened and followed her directions.  Sometimes we might not fully understand how God speaks to us but the results are also just as clear.  God’s persistent love keeps pulling us forward and people follow God’s way.  The news we hear and see each day is punctuated with examples of those who stray from God’s ways of loving God and loving our neighbor.  However, that’s the news broadcast.  Out here in the real world there are plenty of examples of folks who hear God’s word and follow, but obviously, there’s lots of room for improvement.

How do you listen for God?  Do you hear God in the words or melody of a particular song?  Do you hear God in the testimony of scripture?  Do you hear God in the quiet of your soul?  Do you hear God in the noisy din around us?  Give listening to God the time and energy it requires – and follow God’s directions.  I pray that God will help me listen and follow directions.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and
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~ by revgenelson on July 31, 2013.

One Response to “Pay Attention”

  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Pay Attention | Teen Depression: Hope & Healing <Loved it!

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