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Tuning In or Tuning Out?

Have you ever had a day that started out in a frenzy and stayed that way? Who hasn’t, right? No matter how things look on the outside, it’s that chilling, awkward, something’s-going-to-happen feeling. And such a day happened to me.

I felt I was in a wind tunnel. Get my daughter to school. Get to work. Work on the grant. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. In a frenzy, I called out to my daughter: “Kim! We have to get in the car or we'll be late."

I rushed into the garage and opened the garage doorno remotewhile Kim buckled up in the passenger seat. Then I scurried to the driver’s side, turned on the car, backed it out, opened the car door, and ran over to close the garage door. The whole time I heard Kim chattering louder than normal but I was still in tune-out mode.

Then on my way back to the car, I noticed that the back-passenger tire had gone flat—and I mean FLAT! “Oh, no!” I cried in my whiny voice—the one I don’t like.

“Kim, I hate to tell you, but we are going to be late.”

She rolled her eyes and huffed. “I was trying to tell you,” she said. “I wanted you to see all those nails on the floor!”

What!? Why didn't I hear her?

God’s voice cut through my thoughts: You would have heard her if you had listened.

She folded her arms across her chest, scowled at me and then looked out the passenger window. She had every right to be upset. She had readied herself so she wouldn’t be late for school. She observed and tried to tell me about the nails. And because I was whirling in my frenzy, I had ignored her.

Later that evening, I asked her to forgive me, which she did. And when she was sleeping and I was doing my devotions, Proverbs 1:3-5 called to me—and I listened:

[Solomon’s proverbs] provide insightful instruction,

which is righteousness, just, and full of integrity.

They make the naïve mature,

the young knowledgeable and discreet.

The wise hear them and grow in wisdom;

those with understanding gain guidance (CEB).

Had I given Kim some attention, I would have gained guidance and wisdom—and an unpunctured tire.

What about you? Have you either been the one to tune-out someone’s words, or have you been the person who was blocked out? Actually, I have experienced both, and neither of them feel good.

Paul wrote this to the Colossians: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (3:12 NLT).

Clothing myself with gentleness and patience would have fit beautifully that day.


1. Have you tuned-out someone? Why? Have you been tuned-out? How did that make you feel?

2, Which attribute is your strongest: tender heart, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience?

2. Why did you choose that one?

3. Is there another attribute you’d like to work on? In what kind of situation would that second attribute be helpful?

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