Over the past month, I’ve had a lot of time with our precious kids and grandkids. I’ve had the privilege of watching little ones dig in the sand, play in the mud, jump in the ocean, and celebrate birthdays. I’ve snuggled with, read stories to, and prayed with our little tribe. And I’ve been struck once again with that thought that life is an incredible gift.
Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). I can say with certainty that Steve and I are living life to the full! But I can also say that life passes very quickly! Days, hours, and moments seem to simply vanish. As I was thinking about all this the other day, while holding our newest little grandkid, I silently prayed, “Lord Jesus, help me to savor the moment and cherish these precious moments in my heart. Help me to live fully present to those around me.”
I gotta admit—it’s easy to not live fully present. Deadlines and demands can rob those moments from my consciousness when I allow the pressures of life to suffocate me. Sometimes the drive to live a ‘significant life’ can steal the joy of the simple pleasure of rocking a baby or chasing a toddler. But here’s the thing: when Jesus said He came that we might have a full life, he wasn’t talking about the amount of activities, nor the amount of accomplishments. I believe He was saying that He came so we might have a life rich in relationships and fruitful in purpose. If we’re going to enjoy that kind of life, we have to live fully present.
So the question is how? How in the middle of financial pressures, health concerns, deadlines, and demands do we discipline ourselves to savor the moment? Here are just a few ideas, and I would love to hear your ideas as well!
- Let go of multitasking. Discipline yourself to do one thing at a time. In other words, if you’re listening to your spouse talk, don’t be checking email or text messages. If you’re reading your toddler a story, don’t be thinking about next week’s board meeting. Simply enjoy the moment. The only exception I can see to this is prayer. Since scripturally we’re told to pray without ceasing, I figure when you’re reading a story you can be praying at another level. Or if you’re in a meeting a work, you can be silently praying in your spirit. But other than prayer, try doing one thing at a time.
- Minimize your stress. I know you’ve heard it before. But living in a continual state of stress is going to mean that you are continually distracted. So every now and then sit down and analyze what needs to be taken off your calendar so that you can be more fully focused on those you love.
- Create space for beauty. Our souls were designed for beauty. We need it and our senses crave it. So create the space for it! When you find that you’re struggling to stay present, escape to a place of beauty. It might be a walk on the beach or a stroll through a park. You might go sit in your garden or hike in the mountains. By creating the space for beauty and quiet, I believe you’ll be able to recalibrate and recapture the discipline of living fully present to others.
For more ideas on how to savor each moment and enjoy your relationships, check out the 5-day Active Listening Challenge. This little challenge is FREE and features 5 short videos each containing a challenge to help you improve your listening skills. It will go live on my website this week. www.beckyharling.com
You can also pre-order How to Listen So People Will Talk. If you let us know you ordered the book at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll send you a FREE e-book called How to Get the Conversation Started For Those Who Want to Listen.
i am a multi-tasker! I even started reading this blog while sitting with my son. But when I reached the section about multi-tasking I knew I was being told to stop so that I could savour the precious moment sitting with my son.
Great choice, Katy! We’re all tempted….blessings and joy to you!
Amanda Cleary Eastep
That first bullet point…ouch. I’m a notorious multi-tasker. I developed an even worse habit while working in my previous job in marketing. I found that making a list of three small tasks (or one large project divided into three tasks) that I can physically check off has helped keep me focused. Carrying that discipline over to my pinball machine of a brain is another story. Thanks for your gentleness and wisdom, Becky.
You’re so welcome, Amanda!! WE’re all tempted to multitask…myself included so I need the reminder too!~
Blessings and Joy to you!