A few decades ago before coronavirus (isn't that what it feels like?), as I was leaving church, I was casually greeting people and telling them have a good day and to enjoy service. One lady as I was walking towards the parking lot, she was walking towards the church. I smiled and said "have a good service" and she casually said, "you too". It was obvious that she didn't actually hear what I said (or maybe was too lost in her own thoughts to even care), she was just operating on autopilot and assumed that was the proper response. That caused me to think and reflect - so I want to share that with you... How often are we on autopilot, not actually listening to what the other person says but just giving the generic response that we think goes with what they're about to say? When someone ask you, 'hi how are you?', our answer is typically 'fine'. But what happens when we aren't fine? What happens when that's not the real answer? What would happen if we took ourselves off of autopilot and we actually listen to the other person? Connections. What would happen if we started to expect people to really tell us how they are feeling and we paused long enough to truly listen and encourage? Companionships. What would form if we started this new way of interacting at work? at school? in our businesses? on social media? Community. How would this change your life? This is an amen and an ouch post. Because as The Holy Spirit often does, he didn't just leave it there. He challenged me in this area because more often than I would like to admit, my prayers are on autopilot. How about you? Do you just pray the same prayers over and over again assuming God is listening and taking notes of our requests, but never pausing to listen for His response? How many times has he whispered to us, 'Beloved show me your heart. Not the representative that you put on, not the tough skin that you use to survive this sometimes, often times cruel world, but show me your pain, your wounds, your issues - and let me exchange them for something lighter.'? Every Day. But not anymore. The same way I was challenged, I challenge you to journey with me today. I challenge you to listen today. Listen intently, not to react but to genuinely respond. To their hurt, their pain, their joy, their truimphs, their struggles. Be ready to offer a Word of encouragement, accountable companionship and be empowered to step from your autopilot day and connect with the community around Are you listening? I am. Share your comments below...we'd love to hear from you.