Recently, in a shopping center parking lot, I opened my car door, sat down and was securing my seatbelt when I noticed a man standing beside my still opened door. Surprised, I gasped and he quickly said, “Excuse me, Ma’am, do you have some change for liquor?” Saying, “No, I’m sorry, I don’t,” I shut the door as he walked away. One of my first thoughts was that at least he was honest about why he wanted change. That wasn’t my most pressing thought, though. I realized immediately that I had not been mindful of my surroundings.
My daughter-in-law, after shopping and running around with me for years, has tried, many times, to make me become more aware of my surroundings. We live in a wonderful and fairly large city, and it makes sense to pay attention when I’m out and about.
Sitting there, feeling a bit shaky that I’d been so caught off guard, I talked it over with the Lord. I thanked Him for keeping me safe and asked Him to help me remember to be more watchful. I knew I was not to become paranoid, just more careful, and I was concerned that always watching for danger might take away the joy of just going about my day.
Later, during a conversation with my daughter-in-law, I said, “I don’t really want to spend my time watching for mean people planning to do bad things. That’s just too negative!” Yet I knew my Heavenly Father had gently reminded me to be more aware.
Her answer was absolutely from God: “Instead of being on the lookout for danger, why don’t you look for blessings? You’ll be aware of what’s going on around you, and if anything looks strange or wrong, you’ll see it, just as you’ll see all the blessings surrounding you.”
I’ve known for a long time that watching for blessings makes me more aware of how numerous they are and keeps me joyful. So, I’ll continue to watch for blessings and trust that God will show me anything else I need to be aware of at just the right time.
I’ll also give thanks for my daughter-in-law, who understands that our loving Heavenly Father gently teaches us and reminds us of His grace as we go about our days.