Several weeks ago I was praying, as I often do, early in the morning. I walked over to open the blinds and saw someone walking their dog. Because we have a corner lot, I often catch people letting their dog potty in my yard without cleaning up their dog’s deposit. If there’s one thing that annoys me more than slow drivers in the fast lane, it’s land mines in my yard. So I watched and waited.
That’s when I heard God say, “Look away.”
It was all I could do to look away. But, then I realized, what was I going to do if they didn’t cleanup said biscuits? Chase them down? No, I would seethe, complain, and harbor animosity toward them for 20 minutes. If I looked away, I wouldn’t know if they cleaned up after Fido or not, so how could I be upset?
“Look away” gave me peace and helped me to love my neighbor.
I didn’t just look away from the doody incident. For weeks, I kept hearing “Look away.” When my husband was doing something I normally would correct him about (something colossal like using the wrong dish towel), rather than belittle and disrespect him I heard, “Look away.”
“Look away” helped me nag Chris one less time about something that didn’t really matter in the big scheme of things.
When I thought I overheard someone saying something derogatory about how one of my kids played in basketball, I heard, “Look away” again. I would never confront them, but I would harbor anger and hatred toward them (even though I would smile and make pleasantries to their face). When I heard, “Look away,” I became calm enough to pray and decided maybe I hadn’t even heard them correctly.
“Look away” helped me give someone the benefit of the doubt.
When my kids were driving across the state and I wanted to check my stalker app every five minutes to make sure they were okay, God reminded me again to look away.
“Look away” helped me enjoy the people in front of me that day, instead of being consumed by fear over something I couldn’t control anyway.
How do I know God told me to look away? After all, looking away isn’t rocket science. It isn’t a deep theological truth unearthed by hours of Bible reading and meditation. Morgan Freeman in a white suit did not show up in my office and tell me to look away.
I know God told (and keeps telling me) to look away because in doing so my almost daily prayers to love my neighbor, experience more peace, and become a nicer wife are being answered. I know God whispered those words into my little Asian head because it has stuck, allowed me to do life differently, and is helping me live with less regret.
How do we hear God?
By praying continually, then listening carefully for His merciful whisper in the mundane but meaningful moments of our day.