To be equal in meaning.
To have identity with.
To be constituted as the same class.
To have a specified characterization.
To have an objective existence.
These are the the definitions our good ole friends at Merriam-Webster give to define the word “Be.” When I think of the word “be”, I think of presence. I think of where I am. I think of the people around me. I think of mindfulness. I think quality vs quantity. How about you? What comes to your mind?
I don’t know about you but I often get distracted. It doesn’t matter where I am; whether I am at home, at work, at church, the grocery store, the coffee shop…you get the idea. I let my to-do list, my prayers, my thoughts, the sounds and music around me, and even my phone divert me from where I am or who I’m with in the moment.
For years I would let these distractions cloud my vision, somehow block my hearing or just allow me to just be in the box I created for myself. I would create walls around me and just keep to myself. If I had to meet with someone, even if it was a one-on-one coffee date, I would have the hardest time making eye contact and I’d get all fidgety. I probably looked like a nervous wreck. I know now that these were my insecurities, my failures, my not-enough’s coming into play, even though I couldn’t name them at the time. I am still a work in progress. With God’s help, I’m trying to be very intentional with the people in front of me. I want to know your stories. I want to see and feel your pain. I want to celebrate the joys and wins with you.
I heard a message some time ago to “just be” right where your two feet are. This means to give all your attention, your presence, your being to whoever is in front of you. Most of the time, this may include your spouse, your children, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, etc. How can we slow down, look up, and look out to “just be” with the fabulous human beings around us?
We humans think we can multi-task and some of us think we do it rather well. When I think of this myth, “multi-tasking”, I am not talking about folding clothes while watching a podcast, or playing cards with your BFFs while watching The Price is Right. I’m talking about things that keep us from being present; for example, worrying about the past or the future, dwelling on failed accomplishments, or what chaos we’ll find at home when we’ve left the teenagers home. These are all valid things to keep in our mind, but when we bring this into the area right where we are, if affects that particular moment. It affects that special time God set aside for you and the person(s) you’re meeting with. Is your mind full, or are you mindful?
So, how can we “be” with our peeps in front of us? We can pray and give God everything on our mind before meeting our friend or going into that conference room at work. We can take a few breaths and practice being still for a moment. We can ask for God’s presence and his power to be with us because we really do want to give our person our all, right? We can smile with gratitude for what we have in front of us. We can make eye contact without fear because this helps us see into their soul and maybe it will reveal a little of ours too. We can give our loves one the heads up as to our whereabouts so they won’t be calling every 5 minutes. We can put our phone away (with the sound off) in our purse or backpack. No notifications. No texts. No phone calls. No distraction. I’m telling you, when I have purposely put my phone away, the magic that only God can provide, the connection, the vulnerability, the love, and the truth seriously comes alive.
Jim Elliot says, “Wherever you are, be all there.” This means we’ve got our eyes open, our ears open, our hearts open, and our minds open to be present with who is in front of us. Have you ever thought that your presence could be someone else’s present? Have you ever pondered that, “Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) For such a time as this with your family, your friend, your co-worker, or your spouse. Remind yourself of this before every human encounter. Don’t forget that your “not all together” could be just what they need.
Each morning, let’s declare out loud, “Today, I will be present.” Be. Present.
Hugging you so tight,