Rags to Riches: Be Present
This week’s post challenges us to think about how we compromise the present, because we prioritise the future. Natalie takes us through the importance of being present in your situation, not neglecting what’s right in front of you. This is a huge challenge for most of us, and I encourage you to mull it over this next week. We absolutely LOVE this one! N x
Just imagine, for a moment, that where you are right now is exactly where God wants you.
I wonder, if we looked back at our life so far, how much of it has been spent waiting for something to come... For the end of a lecture, the start of lunch, the weekend, an exam-free summer, the perfect job, your first house, an amazing husband.
You name it, we’ve waited.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with those things, don’t get me wrong. A plate of chips is the greatest motivation to sit through a boring lecture. I also love praying about the future and getting excited for those dreams that God has put in my heart, and he delights in that process too.
But... If I’m not careful, I can find that my dreams for the future become the very things that steal away at the present.
1. Be present in the moment
I broke my phone a little while ago. It was weirdly refreshing going ‘old-school’ on life for a few weeks. I learned to turn up at the arranged time for coffee (a miracle in itself), and I learned to embrace the silence of being alone with no gadget to entertain me. I learned to hang out with friends without checking Snapchat, and I learned to eat lunch without posting a less-than-average photo to Instagram.
I began to notice how often I compromise real connection. How this little gadget has become the source of my entertainment, boredom and procrastination. I frequently disengage myself from a conversation, often with good intentions, to quickly reply to a text, or ‘check’ something crucial. I may justify it to myself, but in that moment of compromise, I downplay the value I hold in the people around me.
Now, I’m all about making the most of time... for example, ringing my Nan on the walk to college - great. But I’ve become more aware how I was ‘being present’, but not really present. We’re in conversation, but not fully engaged.
It might not even be our phone; perhaps we’re looking for a more interesting conversation, or thinking about the work we’ve got to do, or just simply zoning out. Whatever it is, I think we have a real challenge to be present in the moment. In the here and now. To be disciplined, and radical, about the way that we engage in conversation. In the small moments of life. To listen through a whole lecture. To watch a film without touching our phones. To walk home (occasionally) without music in.
To be present in each and every moment.
2. Be present in the day
I remember being 15 and seeing my siblings heading off to University, and thinking ‘I cannot wait until that’s me.’ It’s exciting to talk about what’s going to happen next, about what job we want when we’re older. I want to invite God to stir passions in me now, so that I’m ready to engage in what he’s got for me in the future. But, I’ve realized how easy it can be to focus on the ‘what’s next’ and forget about the ‘now.’
Where I am, right now, is where God has called me.
I’m not even talking about next year or next month, but right now. I never want to be so focused on the future that I miss out on what God is up to today. I’m dreaming with God about some exciting things for my ‘what’s next,’ and I can’t wait. But, do you know what would be a real shame? If I compromised my 3 years at University because I was so fixed on that next step.
It’s so easy to think that our future dreams are going to complete or fulfil us. FYI - they’re not! I’m fulfilled right now by Jesus. No matter what I have, or don’t have, I am complete because He loves me. No man, no position, no dream will make my life any more valuable.
Lets embrace this precious time by chasing God wholeheartedly and being obedient to him, as he teaches and leads us in whatever way he wishes. Lets not wallow over what we don’t have, or who we don’t have. Lets stand together as girls who know who they are & what they carry; whose trust & identity rests confidently in the Father’s perfect timing, and who live out of that incredible freedom.
I want to dream about the future, but not at the cost of the now.
It blows my mind that Jesus knows the span of time, yet he always chose to be present in the moment. Present with those who interrupted his path, present with his disciples, even knowing that one would betray him and another disown him. His focus was consistently being present in the place he was, and with the people he was with; whilst remaining Kingdom-inclined.
I don’t want to see today as simply waiting for something better tomorrow. Because right now, I have it all, I have all that I need. And it’s from that place of freedom that we stop chasing after something we don’t have, or striving for more, or comparing ourselves to a greater ideal, and we live fully in the moment.
Let’s be present. Let’s be engaged.
A Southern lady at heart, Natalie Nash is in her first year of studying Theology at Durham University. She is a keen athlete, and Vice-Captain of the University Water Polo team. She also has a love for well-brewed coffee, refining her barista skills during her exciting gap year in Ireland. This lady is exceptionally wise and has a passionate heart for leading people to Jesus, and we expect to be hearing, reading, and seeing much more of her in the years to come.