Each day of this past week brought another exciting event. Monday was GEMS night, a wonderful opportunity to see my sweet girls. Tuesday, I went out to dinner with my summer small group and had our last meeting together. Wednesday, I went to see For KING & COUNTRY again, since they happened to be in town. Thursday, I had work at the Writing Center, which is truly my dream job. Friday through Sunday, I was in Connecticut at a writing retreat. Every single event that took place that week invoked enough excitement in me to carry me through the rest of the year.
During this past week, I truly felt impressed to be present no matter where I was. It was so easy to think about the concert when I was helping the girls with their crafts. It was so easy to think about the retreat while For KING & COUNTRY did a slow song. And even when I thought I had nothing left to look forward to, I found myself comparing my experience at the writing retreat last year to my experience this year.
Being present is so hard, but it’s worth it.
It is difficult for us to focus on the present when we have so many distractions that entice us to crave the next best thing. We’re content in our marriages, and then all of a sudden we see our friends buying houses and having babies, and suddenly all we can think about is that special someday. We’re content in our jobs, and then all of a sudden an ad comes up that tells us we can basically do nothing and get paid millions of dollars an hour. We’re content at the concert, the retreat, the gathering, until they make announcements for next year’s event.
Being present is a mentality. When you feel your thoughts start to wander, catch them quick and get back to the present. The people in your life, and the projects on your to-do list, deserve your attention.
As a writer, it’s particularly hard for me because I always have a second thought that follows my current thought: Will this fit into a book or a story somewhere? Or, when I’m trying to listen to a friend, do I have any information in my information archive that can help her? Inspiration is difficult to come by (we can blame distractions for that, too), so any chance that inspiration strikes, I want to be able to write it down and flesh it out so I can make it into a story.
This passage from Isaiah reminds me to be present:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
This encouragement from the LORD tells us not to focus on the past or the future. God is doing a new thing in your life right now, and He will make a way when it’s time! Until then, you can thank Him for working in your life and for walking alongside you wherever you go. The next best thing is right now. Don’t procrastinate your enjoyment of life.
Maybe this upcoming week I won’t see my favorite band or meet a bunch of awesome Christian writers, but God has great plans for me even now. Even when life doesn’t seem exciting for me, I thank God that He is with me and He is doing something right now. That alone is exciting to me. So no matter what I end up doing this week, I choose to be present. I choose to invest in those around me. I choose to give my undivided attention to the people and projects that need it.
Who’s with me?