Every day you cross paths with different people. Some you will only see once, but others you see more often. Your life is intertwined with theirs. It may be those in which you share a neighborhood or office space. It could be your classmates or the community that gathers to work out at the gym. There are people you see each time you go for a walk or hang out at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant. You see them everywhere you live, work and play.
Or do you?
One of our biggest challenges is to notice the people around us. We may see people but honestly, we rarely pay attention to them. Jesus was a master at noticing the people around Him. He stopped to eat with them, asked them probing questions and listened to their stories. He left tasks unfinished in order to be with people because they mattered to God.
Noticing people doesn’t just happen. It takes intentionality and focus. Here are three things you can do to help you notice the people around you.
Pray. This may seem obvious but many of us completely forget to do it. Ask God to help you notice those around you. You’ll be amazed at how God will help you see those around you with fresh new eyes.
Create Space: The pace of life kills our ability to notice. “Everybody is busy these days, and being rushed usually keeps our focus sharply on ourselves, our agendas, and our needs. This makes it almost impossible to focus on anyone else, even if they’re right in front of us.” (The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, 49) When we slow down and create space in our day we are better able to see the people around us.
Unplug: Technology is a blessing and a curse. It is wonderful to have a supercomputer at our fingertips but in reality, we rarely need it throughout the day. (Notice I said “need” it. We may really want it, but there is a difference). When you are out and about, unplug from your device. Turn off notifications and alerts. They will only distract you. Keep your eyes up. Watch who is around you. Don’t worry…your Instagram feed will still be there when you’re done.
We have been called to join the single greatest adventure ever…to be available to God and join Him in His work as He builds His Kingdom…investing in people, pouring new life through Jesus into those around us. Those relationships cannot form and grow unless we notice the people around us and are tuned in to what God is doing! Try these three things and see what happens!