By MARY GEISEN & BARB LOWNSBURY
I’m a detail girl. Give me an outline of what is happening first, second, and third and I’m a happy camper. I like surprise gifts, but if you told me that I was leaving tomorrow on a trip to a destination unknown, I might freak out. I want my feet firmly planted and a list to check off when I complete an item.
There are times I run into trouble when I am so forward-focused. I want to know the plans but end up losing sight of what is happening at the moment. I forget how to be where my feet are. It feels good to stay ahead of the game and have an idea as to what’s next. My anxiety remains under control and my bent toward perfectionism keeps me on track.
I can’t help but wonder how much I am missing in the present because of my desire to know what’s next. Have you ever felt you missed out on any part of life because you chose not to be where your feet are? What does it look like to soak in the present without any distractions?
For some of you, the questions leave you more confused. You might be asking me instead, what do you mean, "miss out on life?" Then there are others who are nodding their heads in agreement, but still don’t have the answers to lingering in the present.
As I make my way through the middle part of my life, I continue to learn how much I enjoy hanging with my kids, grandkids, and their wives. If I am to get the most out of this time, the phone needs to be put away and I need to be where my feet are. Presence is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s also okay to ditch the “to do” lists in favor of real-life-time with friends and family.
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. (Psalm 139:7-8 NLT)
What joy to know God is always with us. What a gift it is to do the same for those we love.
Ever since they made this choice, I have contemplated what that would like for me. To be honest, it scares me just a bit. Living without my phone for a day or even two doesn’t seem possible. What would I do?
If I am seeking to be where my feet are, I can’t assume that when given the opportunity I will be fully present. Life is full of so many distractions. My goal is to put my phone on silent for a day. As you and I seek the gift of presence, let’s turn off our phones or release ourselves from all distractions. Knowing I am not alone in this endeavor makes it so much easier.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
It is so easy to let our minds wander instead of focusing on what is in front of us at any given moment. Our cell phones, media, work, and to-do lists all compete for our limited time and attention. A scripture that really helps me is found in James 4:14: "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
James is reminding us that time is not guaranteed. That I have no idea what will actually come next in my life journey. So, make the most of what's before me in the moment I find myself, putting the distractions aside to embrace what is instead of worrying about what is (or isn't) ahead. If I'm planning, plan. If I'm working, focus there. If I'm with family, give them my full attention and presence. And when I find myself mentally wandering, reel those thoughts back in!
What are some ways you can be more present in your life? What typically distracts you from embracing your finite number of moments? Ask God to give you the wisdom to number your days, taking nothing for granted, and to guide you through the distractions so you can be fully present in your life.
PRAYER Heavenly Father- Just as I seek to be present with my loved ones, you desire my presence with you. Release me from all distractions that I may know you more intimately. Show me how to let go of all interruptions in my daily life that I may serve you by loving others more authentically. You are a good, good Father and your gift of presence in my own life is the ultimate blessing. I love and praise you. Amen.
Mary Geisen Barb Lownsbury
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