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The Christian Life

Life Observations – Noticing What God Might be Teaching Us

By Carol Harrison

Are life observations changing the way you think and act? Carol shares how she tries to more observant in life so that she can learn lessons from God.

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Starting With the Edges – Life Observations

I often watched my father as he worked on putting a puzzle together. He always searched for the edge pieces first. It gave him a starting point and they were usually easier to spot with their one smooth side. Even I could spot them and occasionally handed him one. Yet completing the edge was only the first step in assembling the puzzle.  Almost a thousand or 1500 or 2000 pieces still remained scattered across the table in front of him, each one painstakingly turned so the colour – picture portion side faced up.

life observations

He never seemed to rush in deciding which piece to pick up. Instead, he carefully studied each piece and the spot he needed to fill. The more of the picture he had completed, the longer he seemed to study the remaining pieces. I saw him pick up a piece and pop it into the spot. When I tried working on a puzzle, which did not happen often, I looked at the pieces and chose several I thought might fit. I tried each piece this way and that. Sometimes I found the one I searched for, but other times I needed to go back to the pile of pieces and try again and again. My dad, through long and careful observation, discovered pieces much more quickly and without as much effort, or so it seemed to me.

Puzzle Making Requires Observation

Puzzle making and putting them together requires keen observation. You need to compare the pieces to the picture on the box – hopefully you have that guideline. You need to compare colours of pieces to know which ones likely go in the same area of the puzzle. You need to observe the bumps and holes as I call them, those parts that help the pieces interlock and stay together.

Puzzles Require Patience

When my husband and I went on a long train trip, I met a young five year old boy and his mother. We started talking and the little boy, anxious to get to his grandparents’ home, began to treat me like a grandma. I loved it and gave him paper and coloured pens to make his own little masterpiece. Then he begged mom to get out one of his puzzles for me to make with him. Puzzles are not my strength but I could not disappoint this new young friend.

life observations

I paid close attention as he turned the pieces over, explaining the characters in the picture we were about to assemble. I learned all about the TV show Paws and his favourite characters. I started with the edge pieces, just like I had watched my dad to. How hard could a small puzzle be? How patient would I be when I could not discover which piece I needed? How observant would I be so I could succeed in being a help and not a hindrance? We put that puzzle and several others together. It really was as much about spending time together as accomplishing a task quickly.

Life Observations

In life we also need to be observant. In the last few months I have been asking myself if I am paying enough attention, observing closely enough the needs and joys of those in my family and among my friends. Then I wonder if I am taking time to observe needs in the world around me – or my corner of it – that I might be able to address. Is there someone whom God is nudging me to do something with or for?  Do I think about those who are lonely and in need of a visit? Do I have a burden to pray for someone and follow through? Do I even take the time to observe what God is trying to teach me?

life observationsOn our recent train trip I took photos and kept a travel journal to document what I observed. I wanted to remember it later. I bought postcards of places I had not been able to get a clear photo taken. I watched the scenery. I observed people and interacted with them. It did not seem to be hard to take the time when on vacation to observe and enjoy the world around me. But now that I am home with all of life’s happenings I realize I still need to be aware of life beyond the four walls of my home.

Observing the Blessings in Life

I need to ask myself questions like, Am I being observant of the blessings in my life and giving God thanks for them? Some people make a gratitude journal to help focus their attention to the positives, the blessings, the things to be grateful for. I think this might be a good exercise to help me focus and then to remember when life seems tough.

Am I being observant enough about the people in my life and noticing their abilities, gifts and struggles?

Am I being observant enough about what God is teaching me as I read His Word? Do I take the time to listen and not just rush through reading a passage and check off something on my to do list?

What do you use to help you focus, be observant, and grateful?

Carol HarrisonCarol Harrison

Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.

Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.

She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.

Visit Carol’s website

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Images Credits

Flower puzzle – danutaniemiec

Puzzle – Riala

Train – skeeze

Journal – picjumbo_com

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Hanniel from ON