At the beginning of the year, I was inspired by a friend of mine to choose a word to be my anthem for the year. A single word that could bring me back to center when the chaos creeps in, which it inevitably does at some point. Right? That word for me this year is present.
Practicing being present intimately presses me into taking an honest look at some of the most important areas of my life:
My relationship with my King,
My relationship with my husband and kids,
My being kind to myself,
My creative work of writing
Being present with my King can feel quite difficult when I have three tiny, noisy children in my midst. I am so thankful to have a friend who recently asked me, “If you’re time with Jesus can’t look like ‘your Bible, quiet space and a coffee cup’ then how can you surrender what experiencing Him through out your day looks like?” This question has pushed me to more fully recognize that Jesus is with me and is present with me every. single. second. It ultimately comes down to my awareness of Him and my being present with Him. This to me brushes up against that whole “pray without ceasing” concept in the Bible.
Being present with my husband and kids challenges me in that I can’t just “check out” at the end of the day. I am an at-home-mom with three kids under the age of five. Let me rephrase that: I’m an introverted at-home-mom with three kids under the age of five. What this means is that by the end of most days, my introverted-ness is screaming for sweet, silent, alone time. Being present with my kids means taking the time to really play with them, not zoning out when they talk about their day at dinner, and pausing long enough during our night time talks for them to be able to pour out their hearts. Being present with my husband means resisting giving him an exhausted, half-hearted welcome when he walks in the door, truly listening to him and being WITH him as he needs.
Being present with myself forces me to actually hear the negative voices and fight back, rather just accepting them as solid, gold truth. It causes me to sit with my thoughts and feelings and work through them. It means not being over swept with guilt or shame, but practicing being kind to myself. It means not living to people-please or be perfect, but to do and be that which God created with intention.
Being present with my writing inspires me to accept myself right where I’m at. I’m not further along on the creative path than I am, but I’m also not at the starting line (I have begun!). When I’m present in my writing process, I am excited to allow myself to bloom rather than mired in comparing myself to those who have “made it” or are different from me.
For me, being present carries close ties with the idea of being content. They tend to play off of each other. When my heart is resting in contentment, it opens up the possibility for me to be present. And vice versa, when I choose to be present, it creates space for contentment to be fostered.
Being present means I’m not pining for the future and I’m not stuck in the past. I am grateful for the now. I can see where I’ve come from, where I’m headed, but I’m breathing in today.
I love this quote from my favorite book right now, The Nesting Place:
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. ~ Epicurus
How can you join me in practicing being present today?