Life is happening. Are you here while it’s unfolding? When you’re home, are you really home, or still at work? While at work, are you at home? When your children are talking to you, looking for attention and guidance, are you attentive, guiding? Is your spouse nurtured or neglected? Are you so adept at “multi-tasking” that you’ve lost the ability to be present in the present?
Many of us mistake distraction for living. We’ve developed the illusion of living, and lost the art of being there. I’m being honest – because this is one of my own struggles. I bet you can identify. When did we start thinking doing more meant living life better? I’m not sure it really matters if we understand when it all began. What matters is that we took the bait – and we’re missing out on life.
Recapture the lost are of being there. Here are some things I’m working on that may be helpful for you, too:
- Pay attention when people talk to you. Use eye contact. Stop what you are doing and pay attention.
- If you can’t give someone your full attention at the moment, simply explain you don’t have time at the moment, but you will next time.
- If you find that you have to resort to #2 repeatedly, you may be too busy, too distracted, too focused on things rather than people.
- Listen to, prioritize, spend time with and really be there with your spouse, making it obvious that nothing else on earth matters. Do this often, because your spouse is the most important person God has given you.
- Listen to, prioritize, spend time with and really be there with your children, making it obvious that nothing else on earth matters. Do this often, because your children are the most important people God has given you.
- Forgive people and move on. Stop being a fault-finder. If you don’t forgive, you won’t be able to be “here” in the present – because you’ll be stuck in the past. Forgive people the way you need to be forgiven and get on to the important things of life, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- Plan down time, or it will escape you. You have seven days in a week. One day should be a day of rest. Schedule it, guard it. Love it. If you do, it will even help the other six days be more productive. Try it for four weeks and see for yourself.
- Start and end your days in prayer, reading the Bible and making it your objective to put it into action each day. Ask God to help you. He will. Not sure where to begin? Start with the Gospels, observing how Jesus dealt with people, and follow in His footsteps.