Being present was something I never gave much thought to until I became a mom. When the girls were young, I began feeling like I couldn’t ever quite be in any moment because I was planning for the upcoming moments in the day that I knew would come all too quickly. Sitting on the floor and playing with them often beckoned the feeling of guilt because I could/should be getting something else done. If I actually did sit down to play with them, my mind would be going in a thousand different directions and I wasn’t present even though I was physically there. Perhaps not all the time. . . but a lot of the time this was my experience.
Finding activities for your children to do somewhat independently so that you can make dinner, dust, throw in a load of clothes, pump the next bottle, clean up a mess made earlier in the day, etc. become the norm for us as moms with young children who are trying to stay afloat.
Can you relate to this?
If house work does not steal your attention, does social media? Or social events? Or work stress? There are so many distractions hanging around that keep us from being present in the ways that matter most.
As my girls got older and they were able to make some choices without my promptings, I found that I had formed a habit of not truly being present. My mind was always somewhere else and when there was a free moment in the day, I would attempt to knock something off my always-present to-do list instead of taking the opportunity to be present with them.
The often-heard comments I had received from older women about how quickly the time goes when they are little began to sink in and I realized that I was missing sweet moments with them for the sake of a stupid to-do list that was simply life. There will always be laundry. There will always be dishes. There will always be dust. There will always be junk piles. There will always be food to prepare. There will always be work to do. But they will only be this age once. I remember making a conscious decision at some point in their early years where I decided that was going to be a present mom. I was tired of being distracted. I was tired of never truly feeling present. This didn’t mean that I stopped doing life in every other area, however, I meant that when I sat down with them, I would let everything else go and be truly present.
Ecclesiates 5:18-20 says, “Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.” (ESV)
Matt. 6:34 “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (ESV)
Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (ESV)
Truth: I am to be present
Present and available. That is who I want to be as a mom.
Present and available. That is who I want to be as a wife.
Present and available. That is who I want to be as a friend.
Present and available. That is who I want to be as a Christ-follower. What does that look like? It looks exactly like what it means to be present with those we love who are physically present. After all, what makes any relationship that of substance has very little to do with a physical presence, rather an emotional one:
- Spend time with Him by reading His word and praying. 1 Thes 5:17 tells us to pray at all times. In short, we should be talking to Him throughout the day.
- Seek and Know Him. It is a promise that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)
- Listen for Him. His voice is ever so quiet, but those who hear it know. To hear Him, we need to be willing to be still. (John 10: 4)
- Listen to Him. Although very few hear His audible voice in today’s time, He still speaks clearly through His word and other people. When He speaks, listen and act. (1 Sam. 3:10)
- Involve Him. Jer. 10:21 tells of the importance of involving the Lord (or rather the consequences of not).
- Wait for Him. Our timing is not His. (Psalm 27:14)
- Cherish Him. Psalm 116:1 starts out with, “I love the Lord because. . .. ” Why do you cherish Him? This is a great question to ponder. There are lots of reasons, I’m sure, however, it is good sometimes to name them.
The Lord has given us today. He wants us to be present for it. Don’t miss Him or any of the good and perfect gifts He’s given you (James 1:17). Be present.