Stop, Look, and Listen
“Now when I tell you I want you to stop and look both ways, make sure you don’t hear or see any cars coming before you cross the street”. Those are the instructions we give to our children and grandchildren teaching them to be observant and mindful of their surroundings. Good advice, but we as adults need to “stop, look, and listen” to be observant for many other reasons just as important.
It is no secret that Spring is my favorite time of year. I enjoy Summer, and there are things about the Fall that capture my attention, but there is something that is so exciting and energizing about Spring. Living in the midwestern part of the United States, it seems like our winters are so long, and sometimes so cold and bitter. So, although most times the month of March still serves us cold, wet weather my mind is focused on what’s just around the corner! I was out walking the other day, and all of a sudden a car pulled up to the intersection I was approaching and a lady jumps out of the driver’s seat and begins talking to me as if she knew me. Funny thing is, I had never seen her before. I didn’t recognize her as a neighbor because I was quite a distance from our home. As she got out her phone and began to take pictures, she looked down the street ahead of us and said, “isn’t that just about the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen?” I knew exactly what she was referring to. I replied that the sight was absolutely stunning! The street was lined on both sides with beautiful trees in full bloom with the most gorgeous white blossoms in abundance. And dispersed within the sea of white was an occasional beautiful tree full of pink blossoms. It truly was a sight to behold. We both stood there in awe as she took pictures, then exchanged greetings as she got back in her car and drove away. As I continued my walk, I thought that street was so beautiful it could be the sight of a gorgeous wedding and the bride would not even have to pay the exorbitant cost of wedding flowers. Now I’m sure most brides would not choose to stage their wedding in the middle of a neighborhood street but trust me it was just that incredible to see.
For the remainder of my walk I seemed to be more in tune with nature than ever before. God’s magnificent creation was in full effect and I was soaking up every bit of it! It seemed as if the birds were in full concert and at times engaging in a “call and response” communication heralding the glory of God. The cloudless blue sky seemed to be a color that could not even be duplicated by any man made palette.
Our attention sometimes seems to be captured by everything except the wonder of God. People request our attention, jobs demand our time, responsibilities necessitate our accountability; so how often do we simply stop, look, and listen? Just taking a few short moments each day to take in the wonder of God’s creation can cause us to be so thankful for not only nature, but all of God’s greatness. Then when we think about the fact that He did it all for us, you cannot help but be overwhelmed with gratitude. Our lives are sometimes so overcrowded with “things” that seem significant to us but hold little significance in the eyes of God. In this nonstop, complicated, stressful thing called life, why not institute a healthy habit of doing something that will prove to benefit you in more ways than you can imagine . . .
STOP – Take some time (even if it is just a few minutes a day) to slow down. Sit
quietly, stand still. Take some deep breaths, decompress, and allow the cares of life to fade into the background.
LOOK – Take the focus off all the demands you have placed on yourself, and
others have placed on you. In your stillness look around you, take an
account of all your blessings, and witness the wonder of God’s
LISTEN – Intentionally block out the noise, the blaring voices in your own head
that overwhelm and frustrate you. Then listen for the sounds God
wants you to hear — this may just be the opportunity He has been
waiting for so that He can speak!