Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual Lessons from My Dog, My Kids, Critters, and Other Unexpected Places

Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual Lessons from My Dog, My Kids, Critters, and Other Unexpected Places

by Dave Burchett


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What if we are stubbing our toes on the sacred every day and not realizing it?
We are the most connected culture in history but arguably the most disconnected from the awareness of God’s presence. Waking Up Slowly is author Dave Burchett’s personal challenge to live “in the moment” and find the everyday joys he misses in disconnected busyness.

What moments of joy do we inadvertently miss as we stare at our screens? What performance idols destroy our ability to appreciate God’s gifts?

Dave Burchett sets out to find out how life might look differently if he awoke each morning consciously looking for the easy to miss “postcards from God.” Waking Up Slowly is an intimate, warm, and touching story of discovering how to more fully appreciate living in the moment. During his discovery, the author finds regular reminders of daily joys from his Labrador pal, Maggie.

Waking Up Slowly challenges the reader to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate the ways that God reveals himself daily. Through regular people, everyday situations, cuddly creatures, and stunning nature, God’s presence is real and discoverable. We just need to wake up to it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496415820
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 553,314
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dave Burchett is a successful television sports director with experience that includes the Olympic Games, as well as professional and collegiate sports. Dave directed television coverage of Texas Rangers baseball for more than thirty years. During his career, he has earned a national Emmy and two local Emmys. He is the author of Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace; When Bad Christians Happen to Good People; and Bring ’Em Back Alive. Dave and his wife, Joni, have three grown sons, several grandchildren, and another rescued Lab.

Read an Excerpt

Waking Up Slowly

Spiritual lessons from my dog, my kids, critters, and other unexpected places

By Dave Burchett, Bonne Steffen

Tyndale House Publishers

Copyright © 2017 Dave Burchett
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4964-1582-0



And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from e-mail.


* * *

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from email." I say amen to that prayer. And, Lord, deliver us from Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. LinkedIn. Snapchat. I remember my beloved looking at me when I announced my plan to limit my smartphone usage. "This is going to be harder than you think," she said encouragingly. She was right.

Recently Joni and I took a trip to the mountains to unwind and regroup. Everything was set for a relaxing getaway. We pulled into an off-site airport parking lot and unloaded the luggage. When the shuttle van approached, I instinctively checked my pocket.

No phone.

"Where is my phone?" I asked reflexively.

"Did you have it earlier?" Joni asked.

"Yes, I know it was in the car."

We started down the typical path that causes me to have to ask for forgiveness later in the day.

"When did you last see it?" Joni quizzed.

"If I remembered where I last saw it, I would go and get it," I responded, with what might have been interpreted as a touch of sarcasm.

Joni rifled through the car and could not find it. I looked under the seat, under the mats, and between the cushions. Nothing. We were traveling with our friends Bob and Judy. Bob called my number, and my Fitbit Bluetooth watch showed that I was receiving a call. The phone was somewhere nearby.

The shuttle driver waited somewhat patiently.

"Go on," we said. "We will get the next one."

Bob called again. Again the Bluetooth watch showed an incoming call. Where was that doggone phone? We searched a bit more frantically now, as our time had dwindled to get to the terminal. Finally, I decided we had to head to the airport sans phone. I felt like I was leaving a man behind in my unit. That I was being a traitor to my trusty sidekick.

When we got through security, I booted up my computer and ran the lost phone app. Sure enough, the phone was located at the parking site. Joni flashed that mischievous smile that can be endearing on other occasions.

"You know this is a God thing," she said.

"Too soon," I replied.

Day one without the phone was awful. I had planned this calculated, me-in-control weaning from the glowing seduction of the device. Now I was cut off without any preparation. Like a person who doesn't think he or she is an alcoholic, until that person ends up in a dry county, I realized I was addicted to this phone and its relentless flirtations for my attention.

Day two was much better. I kind of liked not seeing all the rantings on social media.

By day three, I hardly missed it at all. And I began to notice more fully the impact these devices have on relationships. All around me, people stared at their devices. All I had to look at was the sky and the mountains. I began to watch how these inherently helpful and often good devices sabotage relationships. I would see a family at a table and every single person's eyes were glued to a screen. Couples sat silently, transfixed by their phones.

It took my inability to find my phone to reveal to me that I was way too often that person. By the end of day three I had to confess to Joni that it was indeed a God thing that my phone had played hide-and-seek at the airport. She smiled that smile that all husbands recognize when our brides are right and we are not. That was a very hard sentence to write.

Our culture has information-fatigue syndrome, and Christians are just as infected as the general populace. Three-quarters of adults now use a social-networking site of some kind. The average time spent on those sites is a staggering sixteen minutes per hour. The solution suggested by one publication is a digital detox. That is defined as (and I am not making this up) "a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices so one can focus on social interaction in the physical world."

Whatever happened to talking to people, aka, interacting with flesh-and-blood humans?

We are the most connected culture in history and yet, at the same time, the most disconnected from God and one another. I couldn't get through a dinner without furtively glancing at my smartphone, just in case some important message arrived. There is even a word for the behavior now. When you snub someone because of your phone you are phubbing. The Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University did a study of how this phubbing behavior affected romantic relationships. The Baptists have come a long way since the no-dancing days at Baylor!

Researchers James A. Roberts and Meredith E. David have identified eight types of common phubbing:

1. During a typical mealtime that my partner and I spend together, my partner pulls out and checks his or her cell phone.

2. My partner places his or her cell phone where they can see it when we are together.

3. My partner keeps his or her cell phone in their hand when he or she is with me.

4. When my partner's cell phone rings or beeps, he or she pulls it out even if we are in the middle of a conversation.

5. My partner glances at his or her cell phone while talking to me.

6. During leisure time that my partner and I are able to spend together, my partner uses his or her cell phone.

7. My partner uses his or her cell phone when we are out together.

8. If there is a lull in our conversation, my partner will check his or her cell phone.

I admit I try to be sneaky and place my phone in different spots, so I can glance at an important sports score or "vital" text. Joni is not fooled. Surprise. She will occasionally ask me why I keep looking at my crotch. Or I feverishly check my phone while my bride goes to the restroom. What is wrong with me?

And since I am busy making confessions, I will go ahead and own these, too: I have sometimes been distracted during a church service by my smartphone. I have checked my fantasy football lineup while the offering plate is being passed, somehow thinking this is more spiritually okay than checking it during the sermon. That must be covered in Leviticus somewhere.

After reading through the phubbing list, I realized I was guilty of a disturbing eight out of eight infractions. Not surprisingly, the study goes on to discover that phubbing causes conflict and a lower level of satisfaction in a relationship. Right now I am so grateful that God and Joni are both great forgivers.

I have no one to blame but myself, but I want to put some of the blame on our culture that has told me I must respond and respond NOW if I am texted or called. Talk about an anxiety inducer!

For many of us this is a real relational, emotional, and spiritual issue. So how do we reconnect with God and with one other? I believe it begins with a heart and mind transformation. Paul prescribed this to the church at Rome:

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


I love the way The Message fleshes out the process of renewing our minds:

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.


I want that. Really I do. But for me, one obstacle to living this out is how I routinely take things for granted. Anytime I "use, accept, or treat in a careless or indifferent manner" something of value in my life, I am guilty. I don't intend to do that. I don't think that is intentional for most of us. But it will take intentional focus to notice those overlooked little blessings. The definition continues: "to accept without question or objection; assume." Yes, when I take something for granted, which I do almost every day, I assume that thing will always be there.

The better response would be to take a moment to thank God for the little things I rarely think about. Things like clean water and abundant, safe food supplies. When was the last time I thought about that? How about hot water for my shower? I appreciated it only when the hot-water tank ran out.

G. K. Chesterton had the right idea when he penned these words:

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

Thank God for every seemingly mundane, good thing that comes your way today. A hot cup of coffee or tea. A green light on your commute. A warm (or cool) car to get you to work or school. A favorite song playing. Laughter. A smile from a friend or stranger. A tasty treat. A cuddly dog. A beautiful tree or flower. A blue sky. What is your list of small and overlooked daily mercies?

Today I will remind myself of this simple truth: The things I take for granted, countless others are longing to receive. As you focus on that truth, I think you will be amazed at how much work you and I need to do.

* * *


Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.



This grace suggestion has two steps. The first is to mute and limit the devices you use. (I never said this would be easy.) Strive to be less obsessed with devices, texts, and messaging. Untethering from our devices for at least a few minutes a day will give us the clarity for the next step — to be aware of every simple blessing that we generally overlook. When you disconnect from your device for a few minutes a day, you begin rewiring your brain. If you're like me and need to write ideas down to remember them, you might want to jot down your insights in a notebook.


Excerpted from Waking Up Slowly by Dave Burchett, Bonne Steffen. Copyright © 2017 Dave Burchett. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 The Curse of Culture 1

Chapter 2 How to Reverse Stinkin' Thinkin' 11

Chapter 3 Busyness Is Not Next to Godliness 21

Chapter 4 The All-Important Owner's Manual 31

Chapter 5 Opening the Gift of Grace 43

Chapter 6 New Eye for an Old Guy 57

Chapter 7 Time to Rethink Sabbath 71

Chapter 8 Don't Let Your Past Steal Your Present 83

Chapter 9 Begrudgingly 93

Chapter 10 Gratitude Rhymes with Attitude 103

Chapter 11 Worrying Steals the Moment 113

Chapter 12 Kindness Really Is Contagious 125

Chapter 13 Dare Not to Compare 139

Chapter 14 If You're Happy and You Know It … 151

Chapter 15 We Need a Village 165

Chapter 16 The Doubt Bout 179

Chapter 17 Powered by Prayer 193

Chapter 18 Let God Love You 205

Chapter 19 Getting Outside of Yourself 217

Chapter 20 Words Do Matter 231

Chapter 21 Sounds of Silence 245

Afterword 255

Acknowledgments 269

Notes 273

About the Author 279

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