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Living attentive and paying attention

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By Dave Henning / July 9, 2019

“Living attentive and paying attention is one of my favorite ways to live, but I’ve discovered if I do it in the wrong order, by going outward before I move inward, then I may add to the stress and distraction in my life in ways I never intended.”- Emily P. Freeman

Emily P. Freeman concludes Chapter 16 of The Next Right Thing as she observes that when you can’t clearly define your great opportunity or you feel misgivings about it, you may need to choose to absent yourself from it.  Yet, the author states, this is hard to do because one phrase haunts you: “But it’s such a great opportunity.”

When we say that, we mean that since others would jump at the chance, who are we to turn down this great opportunity to . . . what?  It’s crucial to fill in the blank here.  Because, as Emily points out, the literal definition of opportunity is ” a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.”

In addition, even if you name the opportunity and then answer yes, you then need to ask yourself if it’s your next right thing.  For here you must discern between your values and your vanity.

In Emily’s experience, ten percent of all opportunities qualify as great.  The other ninety percent group into the following categories: a job, an obligation, or a glorified favor.  And yes, you must say yes to those things at times.  But, call them by the correct name.

Finally, Emily quotes the words of Bonita Lillie, who mentored Emily for many years.  Her words still resonate with the author:

‘In the stillness, when all other voices were silent, I heard His voice speaking to me.  And He was leading and guiding and clarifying and redefining.  The vision becomes clear.  And with that clarity, I was empowered to make decisions. . . .  You are the sole carrier of the vision God has given you.  No one else has it.  You are the visionary.  Trust the vision.”

So, when you choose your absence with purpose, that enables you to be present to what matters most.

Today’s question: What most helps you in living attentive?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The No Mentor – a special kind of person”

About the author

Dave Henning


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