Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Paying Attention by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Welcome to another Writer’s Journey Wednesday where authors share tips on writing and insight into the writer’s life. Today author Suzanne Woods Fisher talks about the importance of paying attention to the world around us. She’ll return on Friday, May 21, to share a story about her own publication. Enjoy!




Paying Attention

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4, NIV).

Jesus grew up in a dusty, tiny, “can-anything-good-come-out-of-Nazareth?” type of town. He never traveledmore than a few hundred miles from Nazareth, and while He was exposed to Roman occupation of Israel, most of the people in His world shared His religion, His language, His customs.

Out of that narrow, provincial upbringing,(almost laughable when we consider His impact on the world), Jesus was able to touch the hearts of thousands during His brief ministry, connecting to people in a profound way.

How? Jesus paid close attention.

Nothing escaped Him. A timid woman who reached out to touch the hem of His garment because she believed it would heal her, the lilies in riotous bloom in the springtime, a withered fig tree alongside of the road, a short man who climbed a tree to catch sight of Him. (Luke 8:42-48, Matthew 6:28, Mark 11: 12-14, 20-26, Luke 19:1-6).

Jesus noticed the motives behind people’s actions,the doubts that plagued their hearts, the unspoken questions they had for God. Jesus took the world that He knew on earth, the world that His audience was familiar with, and drew parallels from ordinary experiences with the heavenly kingdom.

Very ordinary experiences. His examples were simple, largely consisting of evidence of a material world,while pointing people to a new reality—the Kingdom of God.

We, too, have a world around us that is waiting to be noticed. Look for inspiration in the places in which God puts you. Ordinary places. Ordinary people.

Develop eyes and ears to see and hear life on a deeper level. Once you begin, you’ll be amazed at the sources of inspiration you’ll encounter. I can guarantee that life will never seem quite the same. Instead, it will be filled with meaning. Just as God intended it to be.

Author Anne Lamott carries an index card and pen in her back pocket every time she leaves her house. Expectantly. Attuned for just the right word, or remark,or circumstance that can be grist for her mill. She’s training herself to pay attention.

Prayer: Lord God, all day today, help me to look beyond responsibilities and routines, the tangles of daily worries. May I get past my own stingy limitations and remember to open my eyes and pay attention. Thank you in Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Reflection

What is one thing you can do to teach yourself to pay closer attention to the world around you?

How does it inspire you to know that Jesus had such remarkable insights even though He never traveled much?

How does that knowledge affirm you?


(Permission granted by author. Originally published in Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers. Vintage Inspirations, 2008).




Suzanne Woods Fisher lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and was a free-lance writer for magazines while her children were growing up. She published her first novel, Copper Star, with a small press. That book won three literary awards and caught the eye of a literary agent, Joyce Hart. Joyce knew that Suzanne had a family connection to the Plain People (Suzanne’s grandfather was raised Plain) and introduced her to an editor at Revell Books. Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World was the result of that new publishing relationship. It is a finalist for the ECPA Christian Book of the Year Award. ‘Lancaster County Secrets,’ a fiction series about the Old Order Amish, soon followed Amish Peace. The Choice, the first in the series, was a CBD, CBA and ECPA bestseller, and was the Crossings’ Book Club Main Selection. Suzanne has contracts with Revell for eight more books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the host of “Amish Wisdom” on toginet.com, a weekly radio program featuring guests who are connected to living a simple life.

To learn more, or to connect with Suzanne:

Web site: http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com/
Facebook: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Twitter: suzannewfisher
E-mail: Suzanne@suzannewoodsfisher.com

1 comment:

  1. I agree that our surroundings can inspire. I am very fortunate to live in a part of the country that is diverse and very beautiful. We own a wheat farm and every harvest I love to ride up on the tallest hill, smell the wheat and watch the barley sway in the wind. God gave us variety to catch our eye. We can ignore it or study it to see what story lies within.

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