The Cost of Paying Attention

Last week’s yard raking brought on a much-needed life lesson for me.

My huge oak tree, affectionately named “The General,” sheds practically every leaf each fall and winter. At the base of this tall oak tree is a small dogwood tree. In the 13 years I’ve lived in my home, both the oak and dogwood have been there, coexisting sweetly in my front yard. I appreciate the oak’s shade and its majesty. I appreciate the dogwood’s beautiful white and bloodstain-tipped blossoms in the spring, right around Easter, reminding me of the blood sacrifice Jesus made for all of us.

Back to my story. So I was raking last week, just as I have raked for 13 years. I was soaking in the beautiful autumn blue sky, gentle breeze, crisp air. I looked down and saw a bright red berry in the grass. Where could a berry have come from in my front yard? I looked up and saw the dogwood. I squinted and noticed something different. Clusters of deep, red berries amidst the changing leaves of the dogwood!  Beautiful. The sight was beautiful!  Blood red berries, as deep as the red on the bloodstain-tipped blossoms in the spring. I was awestruck.

All these years, all these autumns. I missed it…until now. I paid attention.  Grabbing my phone, I captured this photo.

How have I never noticed the autumn berries on my dogwoods before now?

How have I never noticed the autumn berries on my dogwoods before now?

Why have I never noticed?  Why have I not paid more attention?

“Pay” attention. The verb we use before the word “attention” causes me to ponder. Pay. Like paying for an item in a store. There is a cost. There is value. There is sacrifice. Yes, I desire to pay more attention.

The Bible is full of passages about “paying” attention.

Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.” –Proverbs 22:17 NIV

As Lysa TerKeurst writes in The Best Yes, “Unrush me.”

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive the blinders of my eyes and heart. Forgive my hurried pace. Please help me pay more attention.  Help me notice You, Lord. Help me pay attention to Your majesty, from the gorgeous full moon last week to the fresh morning dew in my front lawn to the bright red berries on my autumn dogwood leaves and branches. Beauty surrounds us if we look.  Paying attention is worth the cost, Lord. I pray to experience life through Your lens and Your timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


–How would you rank your life’s pace? Please comment.

–What intentional act will you do to unrush yourself? How?  Please comment.


–“The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your GOD that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” –Deuteronomy 28:13 NIV

–“My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight.” –Proverbs 5:1 NIV

–“You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” –Isaiah 42:20 NIV

–“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. –Hebrews 2:1 NIV

–“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” –2 Peter 1:19 NIV


–Please enjoy at least one unrushed moment with your spouse, child, loved one today.

–Savoring a few minutes of prayer and quiet devotional time in the Bible sets a more unrushed pace and peace for the day.



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  1. Danya,

    Strange coincidence. After twenty years of picking up pinecone like droppings from my magnolia trees I noticed bright red seeds in many of them. Like you say…….. look and see the world around you.

    I get recharged every single day.


  2. valerie gunnigle says:

    a lesson i need to “pay attention” more! always inspirational and full of practical advice if only we pay attention, today I will slowwww down and enjoy the moment 🙂 love you!

  3. paminvirginia55 says:

    Danya, I am enjoying reading your beautiful words of inspiration each week. I’m grateful I was placed on your email contact list and I’m looking forward to the day when your future book gets published. You are blessed and we are all blessed by reading your words of wonder and wisdom. Keep up the great work.

    Pam Orndorff in Winchester

    • Dear Mrs. Pam,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. They are a Balm of Gilead to my soul to keep persevering. Thank you also for raising two wonderful daughters in Megan and Whitney. Megan is a dear friend. Be encouraged and know God is working mightily in your life.

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