The menu reads “Authentic Mexican Food.” I haven’t visited any cities in Mexico to be able to vouch for the validity of the advertisement. However, I have visited a large percentage of local restaurants that use the same advertisement. My expert evaluation is that I haven’t tasted any food from these establishments that there would be a reason to frown about. My side job may eventually turn into a food connoisseur. I love eating that much.

While grocery shopping in a local grocery store, I came across an item that advertised 100% fruit juice. While examining the label, I noticed that there were ingredients listed under the nutrition label. To my surprise, there was more than one ingredient listed: pure filtered water, premium concentrated juice, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Citric Acid, and Potassium Metabisulfite. I know some of these things are added to help preserve the shelf life of the product. However, how authentic is the advertisement 100 % fruit juice.

While swimming with Nemo, going to infinity and beyond with Buzz Lightyear, and setting sail with Captain Jack Sparrow on a vacation several years ago to Disney World, I was approached by a very nice gentleman. I was dressed in my Atlanta Braves attire. We had been to a Spring Training game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This gentleman began the conversation by asking how the team was doing. I assumed he noticed that I had the Braves merchandise on and shared a love for the game of baseball. My response was vague, but went along the lines of “it’s going good.” The conversation continued for a few moments about the team and the upcoming season. As our time was coming to end, he asked “aren’t you one of the players?” I was honored but had to decline his initial impression. This has been some years back when I was in a lot better shape and looked a lot younger. Wearing the authentic merchandise doesn’t make you a professional baseball player.

I guess you are wondering where all this is going.

How in tune are you in conversations with your spouse, your children, or your friends? Selective listening is something that has been mastered in recent years due to the busyness of life and the emergence of cellular devices.

While in conversation, are you actively listening to what the other person is saying?

While ending each practice or game, we instruct our kids to have both eyes on whoever is talking. Why is this important? If you are looking down, untying your cleats, or playing in the grass, you are more than likely tuning some of what is being said out. The same goes for general conversation with those around you. How can you be actively listening while on the phone or paying attention to the things around you?

The old saying goes, “you never know what battles people are fighting.” It would be devastating to know that your closest friend was trying to confide in you about the monsters roaring in their head, but you were too occupied to pick up on the hints in their words.

When hard times come and they will if they haven’t already, we expect others to get on their knees and beg for our victory in this situation. How many times have you said “we will be praying for you” and that never happened. It’s almost cliché. We get busy and forget or just say these things to give others a sense of hope in the face of adversity.

Romans 12:9 states “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Be deliberately authentic out of love. The love that God has shown you should be reflected in your relationships and authentic conversations with others.

Author: Rainey Days

Teacher, Coach, Parent, Love God and my Life

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