B Present

B Present

 

Wherever you are, be all there.

Twelve months ago, I attended the Catalyst Leadership Conference in Atlanta with some of our church staff. The theme for the year was “B Present.” It’s a theme I adopted for my 2012 journal – to live present to the moment. I confess it’s always a struggle.

Type A personalities are seldom present; they live and focus more on the future. That’s why this quote by Gunilla Norris in the Weavings Journal hit hard when I read it:

“We want to predict, to know ahead of time, how to manage what might come, but no one can actually live in the future. To try to do so inevitably leads to anxiety. We can only live in the present where we are, and where we are is always holy ground with God and with each other.”

Those are words I’d like to bathe in, so that their full meaning can soak beyond my skin into my heart and soul.

Gratitude

One of the ways I pledged to stay present this year was by counting 1000 gifts that come daily in surprise packages. Inspired by Anne Voskamp’s blog A Holy Experience which I’ve read for four years and her New York Times Bestseller book One Thousand Gifts I saved a few journal pages just to list my gratitudes.

“…two Sandhill Cranes on my morning walk…a cold crisp day…Christian community…fresh Myers lemons…full moon rising through the oaks…Jennifer’s note…”

They’re simple gifts and observations, but when I read back through my list I realize I’ve been paying attention. Isn’t that what gratitude is about? Noticing the burning bushes and turning aside to see?

I’ve found the practice of gratitude to be life changing. My friend, Dr. Tom Hudson, reserved an entire chapter for this subject in his book Journey to Life. He calls gratitude “the elixir of life” and says this about it: “Whatever you apply it to grows. It is alchemy of the heart, transforming everything it touches into gold.”

Maybe that’s why God said, “In everything give thanks because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). He knows that when we are thankful we are present to what he’s doing and we have the power to turn the ugliest, darkest things to pure gold. Nothing defeats the plan of the enemy as decidedly as simple thanksgiving.

How to Practice Being Present

This topic could easily generate a book or two of information. Crazy, isn’t it? But the following list reflects three things you can do to change your wild-eyed and frenzied approach to “what comes next?”

  1. Breathe – breathing is so automatic that we pay little attention to it. When we are still enough to take a few long, deep breaths – counting to five on the intake, holding for five and then breathing out on five, we are completely present in that moment. Called military breathing it’s practiced in a crisis because of the instant calming effect it brings. Take a deep breath. Immerse yourself in his presence. Go ahead – try it right now.
  2. Be Quiet – we live in a world of constant noise and motion. Our mobile devices ding, ring, squawk and whoosh 24/7. (Are you one of those people who checks your messages in the middle of the night when you get up for the bathroom?) God says we won’t get to know him if we don’t learn to be still. It’s a choice. A discipline. A commitment to be present. Listen; let him speak. Make friends with silence.
  3. Pay Attention – we not only live lives of desperation, we are constantly distracted. On the way to work we think of updating our status on Facebook, or wonder what everybody’s doing Friday night. We miss the beauty that’s right under our noses because we aren’t paying attention to the here and now. All the scriptures that speak about being sober are not referring to abstinence from alcohol. They are talking about being awake, being present to how God is working around you, and to what is going on in your own heart.

I love this translation of 1 Corinthians 7:17 from The Message Bible:

And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.

Life is so precious and it passes too swiftly for us to ignore even what seems to be ordinary. May you come to know God’s presence in every action you take, every breath you breathe, every silence you experience. Your presence matters to God and to those around you. Be present

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Comments

  1. Guilty. Thanks for a wonderful reminder.

  2. Cathee, THANKS so much for your grace-filled words. B Present speaks volumes to me right now. My heart and mind seem to spin in all directions except the present. Your reminder to BREATHE does help me to quiet my heart and pay attention to the I AM, the One who is always Present in the Present. Your words pierce my heart and refocus my thanks and joy.

Speak Your Mind

*