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Be Present

"This day belongs to the Lord! Let's celebrate and be glad today."

Psalm 118:24 (CEV)


I sit on my back porch this morning sipping my tea, my mind muddled and full of everything and nothing all at once. I start talking with God about my thoughts, how they can be all over the place. I think about things from the past, the good and the bad. I think about current situations, mulling them over in my mind like a purchase I’m considering. I project into the future, wondering how this or that may turn out in time.


Far from being as linear as described, my thoughts are all over the place – forward, backwards, current, backwards, forward and current again. I am like a child with too many toys in front of her dabbling with them all but never really grabbing a hold of any one thing.


I realize how hard it is for me to be present, to simply sit in the moment and take in the view. Even when I look at my lovely flowers my very next thought is what I need to do to take care of them versus allowing myself to simply enjoy them for a moment. I don’t like it! It’s like life is passing me by and I haven’t really noticed until an hour of it is gone, spent on nothing but random thoughts. And it’s an hour I will never get back. Ever!


I’m amazed at how precious time is, how quickly it passes, yet how easily I squander it on useless thoughts or worry. When I look back over my life and think of how many hours I’ve wasted worrying about a guy, or the “what ifs” in life, or over situations that never materialized, I’m slightly horrified! I don’t even want to know how many years it would be.


One of my personal goals this year is to simply be present in my own life. On my vision board I have written in bold print, “Engage in your life, in your world!” I look at it every day, and it reminds me to keep fighting, with God at my side, to rein in my wayward thoughts and simply enjoy each moment of every day, each smile I receive and I give, each conversation I have with my children, however trivial or small, each sunset casting its purple shadow into my arms.


It’s hard! I have to fight to put the cell phone down, to turn the TV off, to get away from the electronic screen. I have to fight to deeply listen and engage in those passing but important conversations that will never come my way again. In short, I have to fight to be intentional about my thoughts and my time.


I have to say, though, it is worth the ongoing battle! I can’t say I’m very successful at being present all the time. Just re-read the first paragraph! But I can say I’m more present than I’ve been in a long, long time. And as I slow my thoughts and still my mind, allowing myself to get spiritually re-centered, I’ve noticed there’s all these cool by-products that come from the process. I notice the beauty of an individual leaf again. I feel more emotionally in touch with those I love. I’m a better friend and a better parent. I smile a whole lot more!


So instead of wasting time away this weekend, I encourage you–just as I’m encouraging myself–be present! Take a hold of the moments with your family, your friends, your God and your life. See the world through fresh eyes. Take back out your childhood wonderment and live in the moment. You’ll find joy and peace start creeping back up to you, ready to pay you a visit.


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT: James 4:14 says, “The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another.” Life is short! Our moments are not guaranteed. Is there an area of your life you need to be more present and intentional in?


Remember, 2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us to, “take every thought captive.” With that in mind, what is a practical way you can reign your thoughts back in when they're out playing in busy traffic? How might you engage more actively, leading your thoughts with God instead of your thoughts leading you chaotically?


PRAYER: As I sit here settled in before You, I'm so aware of how easy it is to make light of our time together, however unintentionally. My mind wanders away to many things, making our time together fractured. Forgive me, Lord. Thank you for the fresh mercy and grace today and everyday. Holy Spirit, help me reign in my thoughts and make the most of our time together. May I be mindful to keep worries in the form of prayers away, and instead focus on simply being together with You. Thank you for Your glorious world. Today, help me to really see it, to be present in this day with You by my side. In Jesus' name, Amen.


ABOUT BARB LOWNSBURY

Barb Lownsbury

Barb is a speaker, author, and entrepreneur. She has Bachelor’s Degrees in International History and in Education, and a Master’s Degree in Education. She has spoken at conferences and taught classes throughout the U.S. about faith, relationships, leadership and courage through trial. Her book, Using What’s Broken to Boldly Shine, is a powerful read of transformation through trial. Her blogging is focused on giving people encouragement and strength for their personal journey. Barb serves as the Executive Director for The Dented Fender Ministry and runs a successful real estate and development company. She currently resides in Dayton, Ohio with her husband and blended family of seven.


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