Practice Being Present

My neighbor’s sprinklers come on at exactly 4:30 every afternoon. As I sit on the patio watching my kids ride their bikes, I can feel it spray on my face as the wind blows it over our fence.

My toddler’s favorite song to sing right now is Happy Birthday. Random – I know. After putting her down to bed in the evenings, my husband and I can hear her singing herself to sleep from where we sit in the living room. There are times when her singing transforms to belting..”HAPPY!” “BIRTHDAY!” “TO YOU!”. My husband and I exchange a look as we fail in our attempt to hold back the laughter.

I’ve been reading the book of Revelation out loud to my oldest in the evenings before bed. If I sit silently for a few minutes, the questions start pouring out of her. It’s amazing how thoughtful her questions are when I give her the space to consider and process. We have had some great (and challenging) discussions over the past couple weeks.

 

Recently, I stepped aside from ministry with the youth in our church. Afterwards, I immediately found myself asking the Lord what He wanted me to do next. What work has He prepared for me to get involved in now.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you. ~Psalm 32:8

I love how the Lord orchestrates and utilizes different resources to answer our prayers. Through the piercing of His Word, through books I’ve been reading, through conversations with different people – He has given me what I feel is a very specific answer. There is a very specific work He wants me to focus on right now.

Here it is…

Stop longing for what is in the future.

Stop focusing on the “next thing”.

Instead…

Savor the “now thing”.

Practice being present.

That’s it.

That’s my “right now” work.

Be present with my husband and the work we are doing in our marriage.

Be present with my children. Be present in the moments they need me… and especially in the moments they want me.

I’m learning that it’s more difficult to be present when my plate is full. The more commitments I make, the more residents I’m allowing to occupy my thoughts. This past year I spent much of my time physically present in one place while my mind was in another.

Playing games with my son, while my mind considers that week’s song set.

Sitting at the dinner table with family, while making a mental list of what I have to bring to Bible study the next morning.

Spending the evening with my husband as he tells me about his day, while I contemplate how I should respond to that email.

I’m there – but not really.

It may sound like this is just multi-tasking – it is. And multi-tasking can be good. However, in the moments when my mind is being pulled in several directions I need to stop and consider which task I need to truly be in attendance to. This is how I practice being present.

I love what Sarah Mackenzie says in her book Teaching From Rest…

“Getting caught up in plans for what is coming next or trying to squeeze everything possible into this moment right now is a surefire way to miss the gift of this moment, today, and it is a certain path to anxiety.”

I don’t want to miss the gift. I don’t want to be so focused on what tomorrow may hold that I forget to be thankful for the treasures this moment is offering.

Thankful for the sounds of laughter as my kids ride their bikes together; and for the refreshing afternoon showers as my neighbors water their yard.

Thankful for the shared glance with my husband as we enjoy the serenading of our sweet little person.

Thankful for the questions and conversation with my oldest as we ponder and wrestle through some difficult scriptures together.

And all the other fleeting moments that sweep by so quickly.

  5 comments for “Practice Being Present

  1. Gay Chastain
    May 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I’m sure you don’t need confirmation but I knew on my knower where you were headed from the start. Beautiful. You’ll reap very rich rewards – now and eternity!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. May 23, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    This is a precious lesson to learn. I know exactly what you mean by going through the motions of an activity but with your mind on something else, often several other things. I like “Practice being present”. It is the way to peace. It is the way to healthier relationships. It is the way of the Lord. It is hard to understand how He can be present with every one of us at the same time, but He is. He gives us His undivided attention when we call on Him. But do we give Him our undivided attention during those times? Or are we so wrapped up in presenting our needs to Him that all we think about is “me”? I’m sure there have been many times when I have been “praying” yet my mind has been far away from the issue at hand. To be present is worth striving for. It is worth practicing. It is worth achieving. God bless you as you continue to be present in all you do.

    Like

    • May 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

      Yes… ‘the way to healthier relationships’. That is what wanting. Less commitments and more connection. And such a good point. Its one thing to be distracted while relating to others, but how tragic when we do this in our relationship with the Lord. Thank you for sharing ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. June 7, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    This is something I’ve been trying to do more as well, especially considering the temptations of electronic devices these days. It can be so difficult to focus on what matters in the moment (while I’m with family or friends) when my mind is constantly on the online/tech/virtual world. Obviously, there is much room for further growth. God isn’t done refining me yet. 🙂

    Like

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