Andy Andrews describes a noticer as someone who picks up on little things. Andy says: “Many people ignore ‘small stuff,’ claiming to have an eye on the bigger picture, never understanding the bigger picture is composed entirely of small stuff.”
Andy is a noticer, as is the drifter, sage of a wise man named Jones, the protagonist of Andy’s book, “The Noticer,” and it’s sequel. Jones is a bit of a healer who notices little things about people and creatively finds a way to help them. It’s an inspiring story of love and putting everything into its proper perspective.
I must say there are times when I wish I didn’t notice things. I recall an abrasive co-worker from many years ago who I tried to help out and it just turned into an adversarial situation. Bummer. First and foremost, people have to want to recognize their own shortcomings and want to change before we can really help them. This usually goes back to the condition of our heart.
Like a compass always points to the north, the course of action of a helpful servant guides a path toward positive change and improvement. (Click To Tweet)
How do I use this ability to help other people? It’s a gift to be able to pick up on something, and it takes a master noticer to figure out how to be able to use the knowledge to influence and bring someone to a better place through forward motion. I have found 3 keys that have been helpful to mastering the skill:
– It involves putting everything into its proper perspective. I write a lot about perspective. One of my favorite recent pieces has been “God, Politics, America and Morality: Why I Remain So Encouraged.” Our world can seem pretty crazy at times… until we are able to put things into perspective. In Andy’s books, Jones touches the lives of a struggling married couple, teenagers, businesspeople facing bankruptcy, and many other people struggling through the obstacles of life. Jones teaches that no matter how bad things look, it’s all in how you look at things that helps to keep life’s many challenges in perspective. Perspective always goes back to one key facet: our way of thinking, the same as cultural change always focuses us back to individuals, and to their thinking. How do we create positive change? It all starts with noticing, and effectively fostering change… consider how we think, instead of what we think.
“Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… the power to choose, to respond, to change.” Stephen Covey
Waiting on the world to change? Hmmm….
– An influential noticer works through the opportune season of connection. Even a comment in passing to a stranger comes through a brief interlude of connection.
Disciple groups at church are a great place to connect. We also connect with lots of different people at work. All of our friends count as connections, and opportunities to influence as well. From a warm smile that is shared with the passing stranger on the street to the deep purposeful process of engagement with a spouse or coworker, the bigger picture of hope is developing with every day spent serving the needs of other people.
Please don’t confuse being a noticer with being a gossiper. Living as a noticer calls us to help other people. Gossip is never that way – it only says something about you and literally nothing at all about the person that you’re talking about. It defines your heart and not theirs. That’s just the truth that I overheard from God. In order to help someone out you have to talk with them, not about them. Whatever handicap we’re looking at, whether it’s a biggie like Tiger Woods’ or simply a smoldering blemish from the past, it’s all going to be OK when we’re connected in God’s dysfunctional family… and with a keen noticer intent on doing good in the name of Jesus.
– The influence of a noticer happens in the right time.
We know there is season for everything under the sun…
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
I’ve also found, in life, there are experiences that occurred that I can’t really “tie back” to anything definite until years later… then, when the “ahhh haaa” moment shows up, I can put the pieces of the puzzle together and everything fits together just right. That’s everything coming full circle.
It’s funny how God’s timing is often very different from mine. Being a noticer is often the same way… sometimes it is evident we can interject constructive input in the here and now, other times it may be years later that we’re most effective. That can be a heavy weight to carry when you’re trying to help your kids. It comes with the territory but another given in finding contentment whatever the circumstances. Plus, there is always a feeling of joy when you can help someone else move forward in their journey. Praise the Lord for that and for the gift!
Do you think of yourself as a noticer? What do you find to be most effective in ministering to other people?
Image courtesy of “Vero Villa” on flickr.com