August 8, 2012
Yesterday, I was in a diner and noticed something that saddened me … something that I see more and more often these days. A man was reading the paper and enjoying some light conversation with the waitresses and the owner. A few minutes later the man’s wife came into the diner. Greetings were exchanged between her and the staff … and it was obvious they were regulars at the diner. As the wife sat at the booth, across from her husband, I noticed that he didn’t look up from his paper to greet her … not even a hello or good morning. She kept glancing his way … but he never looked up. There was no receptivity or attentiveness on his part. It made me realize that I have also been guilty of overlooking a loved one.
How many times has this happened to you, either as the ignorer or the ignored? What does that feel like? What impact does this behavior have on the relationship? What is the long term damage of low receptivity or attentiveness?
We love a number of people in life for many reasons, often because we are related to them … by blood, marriage, kids, or Christ. But really loving them, whether romantically or platonically, means developing real intimacy. Two elements are key to intimacy. The first is willingness to open up and be vulnerable with the other person … sharing our core, our everything. The second is attentiveness and receptivity to what the other person is communicating to us, which encourages that person to open up and share those deeper areas with us.
God desires to bless with abundant life all who are able to receive His gifts in full measure … those who truly yearn for and actively pursue an intimate relationship with Him. Two traits that increase our intimacy with God are receptivity and attentiveness. Receptivity is opening up our innermost being to be filled with God’s abundant riches. Attentiveness is directing our gaze toward Him … searching for Him in all our moments … to receive His communication, instruction, and provision for us.
God has done His part … opened Himself to us through His word and sacrificed His son who died for us. He is always attentive to our thoughts and feelings, and provides for all our needs. Now it’s our turn. Will you do your part? Or will you be like the husband at the diner table, and then blame God when life goes wrong?
Today, take time to reflect on an area of your life in which you haven’t been receptive to God’s grace, love, forgiveness, or instruction. Why is that? Usually it’s because you are holding onto something too tightly and something of this world is more important to you. What would you have to give up to let Him in and experience change? How would your life be different if you were attentive to all He has to give for that particular area of your life? Choose to focus on these two attributes: Receptivity and Attentiveness in your relationships, and especially with God. Being attentive and receptive to God is your decision, so choose well. Our resources our designed to help you.
Dear Father God, You are truly a God who gives, and gives, and gives. When Your Son died on the cross, He held back nothing; He poured out His life like a drink offering. I know that giving is inherent in Your nature; so thank You, Father. I pray that You help me increase my receptivity and attentiveness … knowing that these 2 qualities increase my ability to receive You and have the intimate relationship with You that I desire. Help me get over my fear of vulnerability to be more receptive. Help me let go of the little shiny pennies I focus on so I can be more attentive as you offer me unlimited riches. I pray in the name of my most attentive Savior, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. Philippians 2:17
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Mark 10:15
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3