Do you ever go to great lengths to try and grab someone’s attention? When I was a kid, I kept striving to be the best at whatever activity it was at the time, because in my tiny head, that was what would make my parents celebrate and be proud of me. As kids, we always want our parents’ undivided attention. My family moved during my freshman year of high school, and at my new school, I wanted to be known for something. I wanted to be the best at something. I was on the cross country team, and therefore decided that’s what it would be. I had my mind set on having my picture in the paper for being the fastest girl runner. Would I still want that if my picture in the paper didn’t come with it? Would I still want to be the best if the attention wasn’t part of it? Probably not. Sometimes, when I’m craving my friends’ attention, but feel they’re too busy for me, I think if I make it appear everything is hard and going terribly wrong, they’ll have to make time for me. Perhaps you can relate? In college, I constantly tried to get this one boy’s attention. I caught myself doing it even this past year, out of college. Sometimes I attempt to do it subtly through my writing. And look, I’m even doing it right now. I’m going to stop there with the examples because I could go on for pages and pages, but I think you get the point. I don’t know about you, but I am very human, and I will go way out of my way to try and get attention from one source or another. And it is exhausting.
We live in a day and age where there are constantly things begging for our attention. A day and age where being still is abnormal. A world that is so loud and fast-paced. We can now connect with each other by the tap of a button and put ourselves out there with a single post. There are so many big things we can be doing and big dreams we can be dreaming. But as always, in order to obtain a spot on the team or get that dream job or opportunity, we must go above and beyond to stand out. We have to be different than all the others. And in this day and age, it feels that the number of others are far too many to even comprehend. We want to be the best of the best. We want to be noticed. Known for something and to impress. And we want it to be done in the most picture perfect and magical way. But when we stop for even just a moment…we realize that it’s tiring and often times leaves us in a pit of disappointment. Because even if we get the attention for a bit, or we get the position or the dream, the excitement and adrenaline soon wear off.
Post-college life so far for me has looked like trying to keep up with an industry that is nothing short of competitive. I took a bit of a break recently. Something the Lord has been teaching me in this season of life is the importance of being still. And how being still is something worth fighting for. So in the midst of this break, I was going to do just that. And there was one morning that as I sat there, I felt this sigh of relief. I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulder. I felt that rest that scripture talks about over and over again. These moments of being still have reminded me how I don’t need to do anything at all to get the Lord’s attention other than simply come to Him. I don’t have to prove that I want Him to notice me. I don’t have to exhaust myself or even work or earn anything. I don’t have to try to come up with these big fancy ways to attempt to get His attention. All I have to do is come. And sit with Him. And I can come just as I am. Empty handed. Messy. Confused. Unsure what to do next or what my plan is. And I get to come time and time again, back each and every day until I will make my way home with Him. I am reminded that anything I’m seeking attention from that isn’t the Lord, will in the end leave me empty.
I think some of these times we do things to get attention is simply because we don’t know how to put our hearts into words. Sometimes, I can sit down with a pen and piece of paper and just stare at it because I don’t know how to pour my heart out onto the pages. I can’t come to terms with what I’m feeling or what I even desire. But what’s so beautiful is that Jesus just wants our hearts, not an explanation. And He knows our hearts completely. I don’t even have to have the right words to say. And we don’t have to compete with each other or outshine each other or any of that. Because His love is so big and He has so much of it (an unlimited amount, as a matter of fact) that He is able to love each and every single one of us right where we’re at.
So, I sat there on one of those mornings with the Lord and thought, wow, here is the God of the highness of Heaven and He wants my attention. And how many times have I given the world my attention instead? As if His isn’t enough?
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
words by Megan Sauers and photo by Sarah Mohan