Pay Attention

Today, I am off.  Am I ever glad!

This has been a long week.  (Yes, I remember that Monday was Labor Day.  But–even a "short" week can end up being very long.)

Lots of people.
Lots of tasks.
Some frustration.
Some disappointment.
Moments of joy.
Moments of satisfaction.

Today, I need to be attentive to replenishing.  I’ve learned to pay attention to what I’m sensing.  I’ve learned to not ignore tiredness.  Oh, I used to.  I thought that if I was very tired, it was important to just keep working hard.  Of course sometimes that may be necessary.  However, to ignore a warning sign is not the wisest thing to do.

It’s sort of like the person who is driving and  sees that he is low on gas.  What is he going to do?  He can stop as soon as he sees a place with gasoline and refuel.  Or, he can do what many people do and see how long he can go on empty.

I think I’ll refuel today.  I really don’t care to see how long I can go on empty.

For me, refueling today will mean a combination of things:

  • Reading my Bible and praying.
  • Reading a portion of Darryl Tippen’s book,  Pilgrim Heart: The Way of Jesus in Everyday Life.
  • Working out.
  • Doing something completely unrelated to my normal workday (got it planned).
  • Doing something enjoyable with Charlotte this evening.
  • Talking with a friend on the telephone (started doing that last night).
  • Reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee.
  • Watching a football game sometime this weekend.

Nothing profound.  Nothing earthshaking. 

Yet, I’ve learned to be attentive to what is happening in my life.  I’ve learned to be attentive to where I am with my thinking, with my emotions, and with my body.  Paying attention to where you are and then dealing with it is not selfishness.  Rather, it is a part of good stewardship or management of the "self" God has given you.

When our children were small, I tried to be very attentive to them.  We played together a lot.  But–there were times when I would tell them that I was about to go on a short run and we would play more when I got back.  I can remember telling them, "I will be a more fun Daddy if I can run first."  I would get back from the run refreshed and we would play.  Now obviously there were times when we played whether I needed a nap or a short run or not.   However, I did want them to see that I took care of myself and they benefited.

Pay attention today and deal with where you are today so you can prevent completely running out of gas later.  I’ve learned this the hard way.  Maybe you have too.   

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “Pay Attention

  1. Jim,
    It’s funny. I went directly to your blog after writing a post this morning on my blog about this very thing.

    I’ll have to send people over to your blog, at least on a comment.

    So true. And in a sense, for me, weekend has its own challenges. I don’t want to get to Monday, thinking how I wasted the weekend. Your thoughts here provide some good directives for us, in thinking through how we need to approach this. And avoid “running on empty”.


  2. Jim I learned a few years ago the importance of a “sabbath.” I actually think it saved my ministry and probably a few other things as well in my life. It has become very dear to me. I have more focus, more energy and even more time (amazingly).

    Thank you for sharing your insight with us.

    Bobby Valentine

  3. Jim,

    I just finished reading your very timely post. It is Saturday morning and I am at the office of all places. I’ve had one of those weeks. I was going to skip the gym today, but after reading this I may not. Tomorrow I’m preaching on the Sabbath from Exodus 20:8-11. Yet I seem to have come to a place in my life that a full 24-hour weekly sabbath is all but impossible. Self-care has not been high on my priority list, but it isn’t completely within my control. Thanks for the reminder. Perhaps I can do some things to move in that direction.