A friend and I had coffee today. He asked me an interesting question.
“How good are you at being ‘in the moment’? Or do you generally live outside it?”
I had to think about that. But not for long.
“I struggle with being in the moment. Ruby is an expert. I learn from her.” When I take the time, that is.
It’s true. She routinely loses herself in making something, playing a game, singing a song. I don’t. Ruby’s lack of consciousness sometimes frustrates me. I have to jog her out of her reverie. It takes work. Me, on the other hand, I’m always conscious of the next thing. I keep a running list of to-dos in my head. I’m time-conscious. I usually think of it as a strength. I am an administrator. I run the affairs of the household, for the most part. I am the Domestic Overlord.
But administrators suck at playing. They grapple with enjoying parties and gatherings. They’re anticipating cleanup, and the next item. They’re wondering what the outcome will be. Don’t get me wrong. I love hosting and I enjoy people. I simply don’t relax well. I wrestle with small talk. I’m introverted, too, so double whammy.
For example, I drove to the dentist yesterday. I felt anxious about being late. Then I thought, Why? Who cares? Not that I dawdle, much as I dislike some stranger wielding sharp metal implements in my mouth, but what does it really matter in the eternal scheme of things? Not much. I made it in time and everything went swimmingly.
Running helps me be in the moment. I often lose myself in a good book. If I find a movie interesting, I can let go and forget everything else. Those occasions are rare.
What I just now figured out is being “in the moment” can be childlike. Being childlike is a quality Jesus values. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says: “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” You appreciate what is, in the now. You appreciate your surroundings and the people who fill it. You might even – gasp! – experience gratefulness. You savor and see what’s going on.
What did Jesus mean by His statement above? The context comes from earlier in the chapter. Some parents, out of the blue it seems, brought their kids to Jesus for Him to bless them. The kids had no illness or rebellion to heal. The parents recognized Jesus’ good works and wanted some favor for their kids, as caring parents do. Jesus encouraged the behavior. The children’s obedience and humility, and perhaps hunger for more of God, made Him happy. The little ones didn’t fight their parents or Jesus. They simply received. Their hearts stood open for what God had to say. The blessing could only make their lives better. Why not get it?
To often we strive and struggle for an audience with God. Jesus gives freely to all who ask: Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – Hebrews 4:16.
Yes, it takes some work on our part to get into the moment. We have to choose it.