Monday, August 13, 2012

People Watching and 1 John 2:16

People Watching 101. Don't stare. Eye contact is fine, but immediately go into a smile if you do find yourself in direct eye-to-eye contact. Guys, don't fall into lust and women, same goes for you. Get a few of the basic rules down and you can spend hours at a time having fun in popular, over-crowded and loud places.

I love the airport for people watching. I don't get there often but it is a great place to watch people in every mode imaginable. I like the rushers, they are either late to catch their plane or they are just always trying to be somewhere quickly. It's funny to see them right next to you after they rushed by with a wake of stress rolling over everyone behind them minutes earlier.

Kids are a big people pleaser for me, I love watching them in just about every age bracket. It is especially funny when a little kid walks up to you and just stares at you (a kids form of people watching) and the babies who look over mom's shoulder and start laughing at you as you make faces. 

Kids also say things in public that can be quite awkward for the parents and anyone nearby. I had a kid recently, randomly, start explaining that his mom and dad are separated and that his mom threw something at his dad. The story was about to go on when mom whisked him away.

Recently my wife and a group of women went to a Beth Moore conference. Moore is a dynamic Christian speaker and is absolutely amazing. She (my wife) and the other ladies she was with sat on the front couple rows where they could see every detail of the stage and Moore's presence. Her first comment to me when we finally talked about the conference was, "she had the cutest hair. She is so pretty, her shoes were so cute. I was distracted for the whole first hour by just how cute she was." I laugh each time I think of that.

Apparently women look each other over pretty hard. Guys for the most part don't think that way. I do, on occasion, notice a good looking guy and a nice suit even more. Not the same as the girls and the thoughts are fleeting especially if a nice truck drives buy or a server carrying a big hamburger catches my eye, I love a good burger.

The bible talks about people watching, or at least about the hazards, pitfalls and dangers. 1 John 2:16 says,” For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” For me, today, I have to be keenly aware of the things that distract me from my walk with God. I have to be careful not to feed into distractions and they can come from every direction. 

God has created some amazingly beautiful people and if you're in public you will encounter them. You have to be so careful not to fall into Satan's grasp here and obsess or stare past a point of personal distraction. This is probably the place a lot of folks are wounded or wound others.

Wikipedia even defines the art of people watching and it appears it is quite the sport. "People watching or crowd watching is the act of observing people and their interactions, usually without their knowledge. This differs from voyeurism in that it does not relate to sex or sexual gratification. Eavesdropping may accompany the activity, though is not required. Though often a casual hobby, it can be used formally as a means for sociological, anthropological or psychological research. Naturalistic observation is a more formal way of describing people watching in an academic sense. Writers also take up this act as means of reference or inspiration for things such as character construction and social interactions."

All the fun aside, I do have times when I see someone with a need. God does this too me every once in a while to see if I am really listening or watching. I once saw a guy working the parking lot at the grocery store. He wasn't an employee he was a homeless guy from what I concluded, asking people if they would give him money. I sat watching as he strategically confronted people walking to their cars. I was comfortably waiting in mine when I saw him hone in on an older woman. I could see that she became confused and fearful. I parked, got out of my truck and quickly made my way over to her.  I told the panhandler he had two minutes to get out of the parking lot as I helped the woman with her groceries. I don't remember her saying anything special back to me but then, I wasn't doing it for a thank you.

Watching God's plan play out in front of you can be fun and amazing. Participating in His plan can be even better. If you see me at Starbucks I am most likely doing some naturalistic observation while writing. Sometimes I get distracted and slip into wasting my time away on Facebook, ugh, make me stop if I am, coffee is on me.

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