How to Give Thanks by Giving Up Your Attention

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Showing Thanks by Giving: Give your Attention


We have been talking all November about how to be more thankful by giving of ourselves in various ways. First we discussed giving your time, and then giving your money and now we are going to talk about how to give thanks by giving up your attention.


Giving up your time and money are both a little more tangible, but in my opinion, no less important than giving up your attention.


There are so many things for us to focus on in this day in age. As I write to you, I have about 16 tabs open (typical for me), my email open, and iTunes playing the Hamilton Soundtrack.

So believe me, I am not perfect at giving one thing at a time my attention! But I am working on it and I hope you will join me!

Recently, I realized that my husband and I haven’t spend a night away from our phones in years. Probably not since we last went on a cruise (over 5 years ago), and only then because phones don’t tend to work well in the middle of the ocean.


Now, I don’t think phones are bad, but we tend to get extremely distracted by them and it causes us to have a hard time giving the people around us our full attention. So if you have every found yourself setting your phone on the table while out at a dinner with friends, this post is for you!


I am sure we have all heard that it is polite to not check your watch when you are in a convention, but since the creation of the Smartphone, we have let that courtesy slip more and more. I find myself reaching for my phone when I am watching TV with my husband, because a sitcom and his company aren’t enough to keep me entertained. I hope I am not the only one who is guilty of that!


It is not just other people that we deprive of our complete attention. I am so guilty of letting other things divide my attention when I am doing my quiet time. And that is only an issue if I actually give up enough of my attention to attempt a quiet time! That is no way to say thanks to the creator of the universe!


So how do we fix this attention crisis?



The hubs and I have started to set aside one evening a week as “technology free nights”. We put our phones in a drawer, keep the TV off and don’t touch our computers. It takes me a few minutes to get used to the silence that comes with not having the TV running in the background, but after that, conversation picks up and you don’t miss it at all.


I typically have a few feelings of FOMO (“Are all of my friends calling me to hang out and do something super fun?!” – No, because it is a weeknight and you all have kids), and worry that I am missing all the coolest things happening on the internet. But then I realize I have my hubs and my daughter and there isn’t anyone else that I would need to be available for over them.


Technology Free Nights have been awesome and really helps both of us to connect better and have no distractions. We have done some good family goal planning during those nights!


Mark on your planner (right now!) to have a Technology Free Night. This can be with your spouse, your kids, or just some girl friends over dinner. The only rule is to leave your phones and screens off! You will love it and it will leave those around you feeling so appreciated that you would focus completely on them.




The main reason why I don’t get to my quiet times on a daily basis is because I don’t set a dedicated time to spend time with God. I usually just hope that I will be awake enough at the end of the day to spend some time reading my Bible.


But, as we have learned, things are much more likely to happen if you plan for them.


So many of us check our phones first thing in the morning, which for me, usually leads to 30 minutes in bed checking emails, facebook and instagram. More often than not, this is a big timesuck in my day. But I have figured out how to turn this bad habit into a good habit!


Christian author and speaker, Lysa TerKeurst, saw this morning phone checking ritual that so many of us have and created an app that would take over your phone for the first 5 minutes after you open it and walk you through a small devotional and Bible reading. I highly recommend downloading First5 and using this great app to fix your attention on God as you start your day!


How are you going to better focus your attention on others this week?

You will be amazed at the good that it does for your relationships. You will be showing your

friends and family that you are thankful for them just by giving them your undivided attention!


Read the whole Thanks by Giving Series!

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