Sunday, October 5, 2014

5 | Be Present

"Be Present" feels like a trending mantra.  At our house, we say it to the kids when they've reached their time limit on their digital devices.  Our kids say it to us when we are plugged in and tuned out.  All around the Internet I'm running into reminders to be mindful.  Engaged.  Thoughtful and attentive in relation to others.

It's a common message in Jesus' teachings and his example as well.  He was so aware that he felt a woman touch his robe in hope of healing.  He was so attentive he noticed Zaccheus up in the tree and invited him down.  He was utterly engaged in his ministry, and he wanted the same for his friends.  

When Martha was physically, mentally, and emotionally distracted by her priorities, Jesus brought her back to the moment.
But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."  Luke 10:41-42
He basically told her to shed the "shoulds" and take the earthly burdens off her shoulders.  Lighten the load and see the Light.  Be present.  Receive the gift of his presence.
"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" by Vermeer
Of course, this is easier said than done, this being present challenge.  We increasingly live in a world where we are bombarded with information, ideas, and interruptions.  Our brains are trained to jump from one thing to another like puffy little tutu-ed poodles jumping through hoops and running in circles.  This morning, let's send those poodles out in the yard to play, while we set our hearts and minds on Jesus.

Capture & Clear Away the Mental Clutter

Before we even start a little quiet time, take a minute to list the things that are on your mind.  We can capture the "To Do" items and the worries on a physical or digital list, know that they are noted, and clear more bandwidth for truly centering on our Lord.  If other things pop up in your head during your quiet time, just add them to the list and refocus your attention.

Center the Soul

When I jump into quiet time without deliberately shifting my gears, I run into trouble.  I end up approaching Bible reading and prayer the same way I approach my other daily tasks: with a "Get 'er done!" attitude and energy.  So I have to get centered on Christ with a little prayer, borrowed from Isaiah 6:8.

"Here I am, Lord."

Here I am.  I have heard you call me into a moment of stillness with you.  And I gratefully, hungrily accept your invitation. Help me to quiet my mind, my body, my heart and my soul.  Help me to fully rest and rejuvenate in your love and grace.  Here I am, open to your word and your will for this day and every day.

Catalog this Moment of Creation

You might read the Bible.  Or pray.  Or simply be aware of all that you have in this moment.  

For me, this morning, it's relishing the quiet, pre-dawn house, warm and comfortable and waiting a new day of our family's love and laughter.  It the whirring of this old laptop computer that is on its last legs but mercifully won't quit.  (Hang in there, sweet MacBook, until the budget allows for an upgrade!)  It's the pile of Cub Scout badges waiting to be sewn onto my son's new uniform, the dedication and enthusiasm he pours into this challenge and responsibility.  It's the aromatic reminder of my daughter's chocolate protein shake, last traces etched along the inside of the glass, along with her self-sufficiency in blending a semi-nutritious snack and cleaning up the kitchen afterwards!  It's the distant rumble of my husband's snoring as he sleeps in after a hard week's work and bouts of insomnia.  All these pieces of God's peace are a blessing I want to savor and praise.  

Thank you, Lord, for this exact moment.  Thank you for this gift of seeing things, not as tasks to be done, but as mementos of your gifts.  Thank you for this moment of being present in your peace.  Amen.

Need more reminders to be present with God and not overwhelmed by the daily doings?

I love these monthly calendars with vibrant Bible verses.
And these messages...
And isn't this peaceful corner an invitation to be present?

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