“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14
Presence: The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being at this time (or now).
Here is a snapshot of my life in a typical week: working full time as an elementary and middle school therapist, volunteering with my church’s teen ministry, phone calls with long distance family members and close friends, writing emails, girl talk, hosting friends with my amazing roommates, studying the Bible with women who are trying to learn more about Jesus, building my own relationship with God, fun social things, working out, running errands, consuming pop culture goodness of my choosing, social media, and the sweetness of sleep at the end of the day.
This is by no means a complaint. God has promised me life to the full, and I am so grateful because there is not one thing from that list I would trade in (well, maybe errands!). This life that I live, even in its imperfections, has been graciously gifted to me by God. I’m so grateful for it’s fullness in relationship, responsibility, and love. The things I have and get to do now are all things I once prayed for and deeply desired.
With that being said, I know so many women who live busy lives. Sometimes it feels like there is no other option than busyness. While that is not true all of the time, there are seasons of life that strum to a quick rhythm, and keeping up is essential.
With all the things to do, it is easy to forget the most important part: being present. Being emotionally, mentally, and spiritually engaged in our own lives, and the lives of others, is truly the greatest gift we can give.
Life is not happening in our nostalgia, worries, impatience, cell phones, or to do lists. It is happening in moments in front of us on a daily basis.
Practically speaking, for me, that means being where I am. So, if I’m spending time with a friend, I’m not text messaging another friend while also fielding work emails. If I’m at work, I try to work hard and avoid overthinking about my life off the clock. If I’m spending time reading my Bible, I’m fighting the temptation to mentally plan out my schedule for the day.
This is hard, and I definitely mess up in striving to live this way. It is honestly counter cultural. In our super wired world, it feels like an expectation to always be accessible. The problem is that if we are always available for everything; we cannot be fully present for the one thing that God may be calling us to learn, the one opportunity He wants us to make the most of, or how He wants us to experience His presence. Being mentally in multiple places can be distracting and overwhelming. But being one place at one time – physically and in our hearts – is peaceful, even if it requires much intentionality.
Ultimately, C.S. Lewis has already said it so much better than I can:
“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity or with the Present–either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” – CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Beloveds, let us fight to be fully present for all the moments of this life that our Creator is inviting us to experience with Him and with others.