February 20, 2015

Learning to Biblically Be Present




Being present in whatever season the Lord has me in is something that has been on my heart as we start another baseball season.  It is so easy for me to immediately start dreaming of our next offseason or where we will be when Spring Training ends rather than being present right where the Lord has me.  One of my favorite quotes from Jim Elliot is about being present, but I also wanted to dive deeper into what scripture says about being present in our current seasons. 


After looking up scriptures, I divided up the ways to be present biblically into five ways....


Ways to Biblically Be Present:
Be Intentional
Be Present-Minded 
Be Prayerful
Be Thankful
Be Peace-Seeking

Be Intentional 
Being intentional is something that I am really focusing on this year.  I want to be a good steward of the time the Lord gives me by being intentional rather than letting it slip by.  I want a life of less social media and screen time and more coffee dates and Bible studies.  I want to strive to be a better wife and friend rather than gain social media followers.  I want to make sure my life is being spent in an intentional way for God's kingdom and not for my own gain.  Being intentional in how we live for the Lord keeps our focus on His desires in this season rather than letting our mind wander to what tomorrow or the next season has in store. 

After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, MSG

Be Present-Minded
This one is huge for me.  I am a planner at heart, and I'm always looking to the next thing whether it is 2 days or 10 years in the future.  I am not one that dwells on the past as much as I dream about the future, but neither are ways worth living.  The Lord calls us to focus on today, only on the present.  It is takes a conscious effort to train our minds to only think in a present-minded way, but it is Biblical truth that we should only focus on what the Lord has for us today.

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 desert and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34, NIV

Be Prayerful
This is the area of my spiritual life that I am convicted on more than anything.  I'll be honest in that it is much easier for me to go to God in prayer when I need an answer than it is for me to pray when I am thankful, much less continuously.  It is also not my first reaction to say a prayer when I am anxious or worrying.  It is something that I am constantly working on, and I go through seasons where I am better.  For me, it is a lot like being present-minded, it takes an effort to train my heart to go to the Lord in prayer continuously.  We are able to attune our heart to be present where the Lord wants us when we pray scripture and pray continuously. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.  Philippians 4:6, NIV 

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV

Be Thankful 
We cannot fully appreciate the season the Lord has us in while constantly wishing to be in the next season.  Be thankful for where you are right now.  Even if where you are is hard or you are struggling.  Something that has helped me to live this out is to keep a gratitude journal.  I simply write down a few things I am thankful for each day.  They can be big or small, just whatever has given me joy that day.  It is so humbling to read my list each day and see all the ways the Lord has given me grace each day.  A daily expression of our thankfulness gives us a humble perspective of why the Lord has us in this season of life.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV 

Be Peace-Seeking 
I want to live a life that reflects Colossians 3:12-14.  Easier said than done, right? It takes being present right where the Lord has us to be able to live Colossians 3:12-14.  It is hard to be compassionate and patient when we are only looking to the future and wishing for the next season of our lives.  Striving to find peace in the most hectic areas of life can be so hard, but it is one of the best things we can do for our spiritual life.  I love the command the end of this verse, "And above all these put on love".  Can we strive to daily "put on love" and live in the present?

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Colossians 3:12-14, ESV 

What does living in the present look like for you? Is it taking breaks from social media to spend time with people face-to-face? Or learning to pray continuously and not worry about tomorrow? Whatever it looks like for you, I urge you to find out a way to live life in the today so that you don't miss out on what the Lord has in store for the exact season He has you in right now. 

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