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It is hard to always pay attention

Do you ever find yourself daydreaming away, only to be caught a little off-guard by just how much time has passed without you doing anything at all? I am able to drift into some kind of "daydreaming" mode and just drift along. When I look at the end of the day's work, I wonder why I just did not accomplish as much as I set out to do. At other times, I am so productive and accomplish a great deal without even realizing just how much I was able to accomplish. Most would consider this kind of "up and down" behavior as a little bit of inconsistency - my actions don't consistently match the words or the intentions of my mind and heart. There are days when I wonder why I say the things I say - when I know full-well those words are gonna come back to haunt me! Days when the words just seem to "pop out" without any forethought, but it is too late once they escape my mouth! I guess we all have those days, huh? If you have figured out a way to 100% of the time walk in consistency and always put thought into your words before they are spoken, you are further ahead than me! One thing I count on in my 'inconsistency' is that God is faithful to put a guard over my lips and allow that same 'guard' to help guide my activities - but I need to allow the Spirit of God within me to actually do the guarding! Truth be told, there a whole lot of days when I don't want to be told what to do or how to behave - so I don't even ask!

Post a guard at my mouth, God, set a watch at the door of my lips. Don't let me so much as dream of evil or thoughtlessly fall into bad company. (Psalm 141:3-4)

Setting a "watch" over the door of our lips might actually help us "filter" out some of what we say! Look it up - a guard carries the idea of keeping under so close of a watch so that nothing escapes which should have "stayed in"! It also means there is something that 'stands in the way' so injury won't happen. I have 'guards' on my saws just for the very reason that I don't want to lose a finger or two in the process of ripping down wood! I use push-sticks to keep my fingers well away from that spinning blade. A guard over my lips seems like a pretty good idea because my words can be a 'cutting' as that spinning blade if I am not careful! Do you dream a lot? Do you have control of your dreams - the content of what you dream about? You might if we were speaking of daydreams here, but not those that come in the wee hours of your sleep. When we thoughtlessly drift into the daydreaming mode, we may not even realize we are there - don't miss that point - we 'thoughtlessly drift' into the point of daydreaming. Have you ever been 6 miles into your commute before you realized you were deep into a "daydreaming" mode? You might just daydream a little bit more than you realize! You and I are prone to allowing a 'thoughtless drift' to occur when it comes to conscious thought. It is as though the unconscious takes over for a moment or two - allowing things to begin to dwelt upon that otherwise wouldn't have been in the forethought of your attention.

Some of my daydreams are about improvements around the house which I'd like to make - some new things to add to the "curb appeal" of my home. I have others about things I'd like to learn to craft in my shop - learning how to really use my tools well so I can create useful and beautiful things. These are definitely not the wrong kind of "dreams" to have. If my daydreams become central to my thoughts more often than my conscious engagement in my tasks at hand, then my attentiveness to what I am supposed to be engaged in may not be there and that work will suffer! Whenever "daydreams" take over, we have a tendency to drift from attentiveness into passive inattention and that is where the danger really begins - in our passivity. Why would God remind us to evaluate the company we keep right along with keeping this guard over our lips and guide over our steps? I believe it is because we can equally find ourselves "thoughtlessly falling" into bad company. Have you ever been dreaming in your sleep, then in a flash, you awake with a start, almost feeling like just fallen from a great height - like you'd stepped off a cliff and suddenly you are awake, heart pounding, breathing rapidly? The whole event of the dream seems real for a moment, yet you had no control over how you got to where you were right at the moment you awoke - and you usually have no idea how the dream ended, either! We choose the company we keep as much as we choose the company we leave behind. It is a matter of choice - either active or passive. You may struggle with this concept a little wondering how you can passively make a choice. It is true - the opposite of active choice is one of passively having a choice made for you! We need a guard over our choices - one who will alert us before we make the wrong ones and will shock us back to our senses before we passively drift into ones we may regret later! 

So, Holy Spirit come! Guard our lips - close the door tight when nothing good is about to come out! Watch our words! Pull us back to earth when we are carried away in inattentive passivity. Guide our choices! Let us each welcome his watchfulness over our lives! Just sayin!

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