“Be thankful for this moment for this moment is your life.”
How many times have you heard this quote? It’s so cliche I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen it on pinterest or on someone’s facebook and I don’t even know where it came from to begin with. But this quote has been popping into my head a lot lately. I’ve been really trying to live in the present, not planning for the future, not dwelling in the past, but being in the here and now.
“Wherever you are be all there.” Elizabeth Eliot
When I was living with the sisters it was easy to live in the present. I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I was being told exactly what I was supposed to do each day. So if my assignment was to clean the kitchen, that’s what I did and that’s where I was. I focused on that task and tried to find the Lord there in the cleaning. At first it was hard. I was so focused on the cleaning that all I thought about was completing the task, but once it became old habit my mind started to wander. And as my mind started to wander, I started training myself to look for the Lord. And you know what happened over time? I found Him. I saw Him in the midst of the dirt I was sweeping up. I talked to Him about what I was doing, what I was concerned about, and if I didn’t have anything to say I just spent time with Him as I did my work.
“Know that even when you are in the kitchen, our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans” St. Teresa of Avila
It became so easy to live in the present moment. As one of the sisters said, the only place we can really encounter the Lord is in the present. He was present in our past and He knows our future, but the only place that we can really be with Him is in the present. The problem is that we get distracted. We are so worried about the future that we focus all our thoughts on what we are going to say or do next. Or we get so consumed with our mistakes that all we can think about is how we could have done better. We forget to be where we are this very moment. We miss our lives because we aren’t present. And we miss seeing God in the here and now because we are trying to figure everything out on our own.
“The only place we need to see before we die is this place, of seeing God, here and now.” Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Since I left the convent, I’ve really been working hard at living in the present. I’ve been practicing gratitude each day to remind myself that God is still loving me right here where I am. He is still lavishing His gifts on me. It’s easy for me to get caught up in trying to make a plan and figure out what I need to do next and how I’m going to take care of myself financially. By practicing gratitude every day, I’ve been able to remind myself to live in the present. And by living in the present, I give God the control, since He has it whether I give it to Him or not. The great thing is that when I give Him control, I let His peace and joy reign in my life. And why wouldn’t I want that?
I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s a challenge I make for myself every single day, to find God in the every day moment and thank Him for His presence. But it’s a life changing experience. It makes even the most difficult, confusing times of life full of joy. And isn’t that what we’re all seeking?
So my challenge for you is this: Find God right now, in whatever you do next after reading this. Find Him while you’re folding laundry or cooking dinner, writing that report at work, or teaching that lesson. He is present and He is loving you. He is pouring out gifts to you every moment of every day, you just have to have the eyes to see Him. Don’t miss your life. Start living in the present.