Pay Attention

The American philosopher and psychologist William James once defined human attention as a “withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state which in French is called “distraction.”

Have you ever noticed that when you decide to buy a certain kind of car you see it everywhere. A friend recommends an obscure movie to you, and by the end of the week, three more people have mentioned it. You find out you’re having a baby and now you’re surrounded by pregnant women in every shopping aisle, church service, and stadium seat. It’s not just you, and it is a real thing. So real, in fact, that there are actual names for it.  Known as Blue Car syndrome, or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, this is when we hear or experience something and suddenly it seems to appear everywhere. It’s also called frequency illusion, which, of course, implies these things are not, in actuality, happening or appearing more often than normal, but because they have been brought to your attention, your brain notices them more often.

We have so many distractions competing for our attention that sometimes we miss out on whats really important. As Paul left the elders in Ephesus he challenged them to remain watchful both personally and over the Church family as well, a challenge that is as needed today as it was then.

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