The Gift of Awareness
I’m blessed with an awesome gift of observation. I just take notice of things around me by default. It’s not like there’s an on and off switch like a light. I’m just always ON, taking notice of my surroundings. If asked, the people who know me best would say that I’m one of the most observant people they know. It has truly been a blessing as well as a curse. Let me share why.
Besides the sideshow carnival tricks (“Have you seen my keys, John?” “Sure, they’re on the shelf above the TV.”), I’ll also give you an extreme example of how this gift has been a blessing. A few years back, I was traveling with Martha in Madrid. We were headed toward an exit out of the airport when I felt something happening behind us. I quickly grabbed Martha’s arm and pulled her to the opposite side of myself. At that very moment a man ran past us who was being chased by the police. He would’ve mowed her down to get past. This is just one of the blessings of being hyper-aware. Being observant can make you ready for the inevitable.
But today I would like to write about how our natural gifting can be twisted and used against us. The problem with focused awareness is that all my life I’ve been tempted to focus on man. I’m usually aware of the responses and reactions of everyone—hyper-aware. Before I was saved, I was a slave to this because I also wanted to please. A deadly combination! Someone wouldn’t even have to verbalize their disapproval of me; I’d just read the room and adjust. After I was saved, the Lord healed me of this compulsion and here is the reason why.
If I’m aware of anyone, that’s anyone (spouse, father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, boss, friend…ANYONE) more than God, then they have become my god. If I’m focused on any other soul more than God Himself, I’m simply in idolatry. I’m entangled!
No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
2 Tim. 2:4 NASB
He’ll Use Your Giftings Against You
The temptation of my gift is that what I’m aware of can become my focus. The question ever is: Who’s God in any situation? It’s always about what we exalt as God, who we are listening to, who has our focus, and what’s guiding our hearts.
Satan has tried hard to use my gift of observation to defeat me. His temptation has been to twist it against me in order to capture my focus from the Lord. Isn’t that just like the enemy to take what God gives as a gift and pervert it to bring destruction? If Satan can gain my attention to the point that he pulls my focus off of God and onto anything else, he wins. My focus enthrones whatever is in my gaze.
This is not only the case with awareness. There’s always a perversion of every gift. For instance, I know many people who have the gift of mercy. Ultimately their temptation will be to compromise with evil in a merciful gesture. Mercy is an amazing attribute of God, but in the hands of the devil, it can be used against His people through the temptation to compromise.
The long and short of this is that God must be master of even the gifts He’s given me. I am dependent on Him, ever and continually, even in what I see as my strengths. Yes, my natural strengths are still weaknesses needing Him. If I rely on that which brings me strength rather than leaning on God, I will be defeated. Both strengths and weaknesses are insufficient before the All-Mighty God in whom I am to trust.
* Focus can seem like a super power. Read more about how focus and awareness worked in the Vatican.