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”.
Savor the “now thing”.
Practice being present.
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.