Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Be Engaged!! (1 of 3)

I am pretty sure we all know what it means to be engaged.  However, for your English pleasure and to help me make a point, here are some definitions of engaged:
  1. To occupy the attention or efforts of a person or persons.
  2. To attract and hold fast
  3. To bind, as by pledge, promise, contract, or oath; make liable
  4. Choosing to involve oneself in or commit oneself to something:
Synonyms:  absorbed, engrossed, interested, involved.

I am a multitasker.  And so are you.

We call it multitasking when the truth is we are not engaged.  I see it way too often.  I do it way too often.  I am preoccupied.  I am distracted.  And so are you.

Be engaged in your marriage!

My husband and I were engaged (#3 above) less than three months after our first date.  Fast huh?  However, I was engaged (#1 above) long before our first date!  We were engaged (#2), attracted to each other!  We spent as much time as we could together because we were engaged (#4).  We were engaged….in every form/definition of the word.  We were absorbed, engrossed, interested and involved.  Engaged.

Sometimes it is hard to continue to be engaged.  Sometimes we let work or ministry or kids or weariness or television or social media or resentment or hurt or whatever get in the way of being engaged

Be engaged in your marriage my friend….because, just maybe, one day he won’t be around anymore…then you can watch whatever TV show you want or play solitaire and check social media and read that book.

Be engaged with your children!

I went to watch our six year old at her swim practice and every.single.parent sitting on the bleachers had their phone in their hands and their eyes on the phone.  Every one!!  They were all engaged in their phone….not their child.  I wish I had taken a picture.

When your eight year old tells you in unbelievable detail every aspect of the new game he played at his friend’s house…a dissertation that takes at least ten minutes with hand motions and odd sounds….and you want to desperately fix dinner or do laundry or check Facebook or read the text someone just sent you.  Don’t!!

When he is thirteen and he doesn’t understand what is happening with his body and he is thinking things he doesn’t know if he is supposed to think....you will want him to talk to you.  Be engaged now so he will talk to you then!!  Those talks at thirteen are worth it!!


When she is seventeen and comes home from a date and wants to climb in to bed with you and share everything about that guy and what she is feeling and thinking because you have been engaged in seemingly insignificant conversations since she was only seven.  And those bed time talks are worth it!

Be engaged with your children because maybe one day they will stop talking to you because they feel like other things were more important than them.

Be engaged in worship. 

There have been too many times when I realized it was the third verse of a hymn or the third time we sang the chorus of a praise song that I realized words were coming from my mouth….but I was not engaged.  I was distracted.  My mind was elsewhere.  I was not engaged in worship. 

I read a passage of scripture and have had no idea what I have just read!!!  I was not engaged with God or worship!!

Be engaged with God because He is life and bread and light and breath!

How to be engaged?  Stop, Look, Listen

Stop whatever it is you are doing and focus on them.  Stop doing chores.  Stop looking at your phone or IPad or computer.  Turn off the TV.  Stop it all.

Look at them face to face.  Eyeball to eyeball.  Knee cap to knee cap!  Look-At-Them.  For a child it might even mean getting down on your knees to their level.  If it’s your husband, and he is coming home late for dinner after meetings and you have already eaten, it might mean sitting at the table with him while he eats.  For God it might mean looking in to His Word in hardback if you have gotten used to using your Bible app and the temptation to touch another app has become too easy.

Listen to them.  What are they saying?  What are they NOT saying?  Why are they telling you this?  Whenever I study the Bible I ask God three questions. 
  1. What does it say?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. What do I need to do?

So….for me to engage with God I have stopped, looked, and this is my listening part.  Something just hit me!!!  Perhaps we should ask these three questions when it comes to our husbands and children too!!
  1. What are they saying?  Often what they are saying is not what they are saying!
  2. What does it mean?  Are they upset?  Are they hurting? 
  3. What do I need to do?  Keep listening?  Ask questions?  Give a hug?

Stop calling it multitasking and being proud of it!!  Stop being distracted.  Stop being preoccupied.

Be engaged!!

P.S.  OUCH!!  Sorry if this sounds a little harsh!!  All I know is that our marriages and our children and our God is worth all of our attention and I am thankful that they all want us to be a part of their lives!! 

I am praying for you if you feel like it is too late....because it is not ever too late to become engaged.  It might require asking for forgiveness and humility and brokenness...but it is not too late.  I love you...whoever this p.s. is for.


Sara said...

Thank you! Needed to hear this and need to practice it.

Dana said...

Thank YOU Sara for reading and commenting and applying!! You are a great mom and I know those two boys love it when you engage them!! I appreciate you!!