Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

Present: Heart Lessons in Being Present

Early morning presenceOur Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PRESENT. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

**Please bear with me. This post went a bit over five minutes. 

PRESENT

Being fully present is not as easy as it sounds. Being fully present in body, mind and heart is hard sometimes.

When that presence requires a sacrifice, I confess my heart often chafes at the inconvenience. And when things take longer than I expected, I begin to feel stressed.

This has been one of those stress-inducing weeks with unexpected demands on “my”  time impacting everything I had planned to do this week.

When things don’t got he way I thought they would, when others don’t cooperate with how things are supposed to be done, I begin to be stressed. Which often reflects itself in my words and through the insecurities that surface.

It’s been one of those weeks.

Father son presence

I am learning that, though I say I want to be fully engaged with what’s going on in my boys’ lives, with meeting their needs, I don’t always have the heart attitude that reflects this desire.

I have so much to learn about humility and the beauty that comes from being not only fully present, but willingly present. 

When my heart sets aside the expectations, and my mind lays down the plans I had for “my” time, then I am more willingly present when the unexpected chomps away the time in a week.

I’m seeing God’s hand and His patience as He is fully present with me. He never leaves. He’s always got a shower of grace waiting to wipe off the grime of my pride. To cleanse the stress from my heart.

Sometimes plans need to be laid aside to ease stress, so that being fully present is pleasant . . . especially for the one I’m present with.

sunlight presence

Being fully present also means remembering that “my” time is not really my own. God gives us time, and lets us choose how we spend it. If I want to truly be a light to others, it starts with relinquishing cement-laid plans and asking the Lord to write His plans into my day.

Honestly? I’m not there yet. But this word has challenged me to evaluate my attitude . . . and see the need to make a few things right with my family.

What about you? How do you keep a right heart in being present with those around you? What does being fully present look like for you?

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32 thoughts on “Present: Heart Lessons in Being Present”

  1. I love that you went over!! Beautiful, well written post!! You are so right about sometimes plans need to be pushed aside so that being present with me is pleasant. We must always remember as mommas that we are not superhumans although our children may think that sometimes with all the work we do. A great book about choosing best decisions is called The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. She talks about making sure you can fully commit to something before you commit. I also loved the point where our time is not ours, but HIS!! Oh, so true!! We can forget that so easily.

    your fmf friend parked at number 5 this week

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    1. Thanks, Miranda! It’s the pushing aside of plans that is the challenge sometimes, isn’t it? Relinquishing our plans for God’s? Thank goodness God doesn’t require us to be superhuman. Just human with a penchant for calling on and cloning to Him. I’m slowly working my way through Lysa’s book. 🙂 I so appreciate you stopping by!

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  2. Great post, as always, Jeanne. You hit this exactly right.

    Being present can be hard, and certainly inconvenient, but you’re right that ‘our’ time is not really ours. Life is about responsibilities, and not ‘rights’. That certainly goes against secular culture, and, truth be told, against what many Christians say as well.

    I’m lucky; life for me is a set of stark contrasts, and there is no real fluff, no luxury (well, besides cigars). It all has a hard edge, and that makes it easier to drop my preferences and attend to the necessary.

    It is not a perspective I would wish on anyone.

    #2 at FMF.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/01/your-dying-spouse-109-fmf.html

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    1. I like what you said, Andrew, about life being about responsibilities, not rights. In this culture, we tend to forget this. I know life has been pared down to the necessary, and you live it honorably. As you share your story, here, on your blog and with others, you inspire those who read your words.

      I’m glad you have one luxury. 😉 Interesting . . . dropping our preferences to attend to the necessary. That’s another thing to think on. Thank you so much for sharing your energy and your words.

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  3. This word challenged me too this week. I’m sorry to read it was a stressful week for you. But you’re wise enough to recognize obstacles in bring present. I can learn from you! Great post!

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    1. Julie, I had this vision of what being fully present looked like. And yes, it was extremely idealistic. I’ve even lived the ideal a few times. 🙂 But this week has shown me there is a difference between being present and being present willingly. And, it’s been a humbling lesson, to be sure. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  4. This: “God gives us time, and lets us choose how we spend it.” I pray that I will be more diligent in how I spend my time…giving my all for His service. Beautiful post.

    Lynette
    ~#9 this week at FMF

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    1. You and me both, Lynette. I’m getting better about spending my time in good ways, giving my all for His service. It’s such a choice, isn’t it? And I find it amazing that God lets us choose, even when we choose selfishly. I’m working on choosing to spend time wisely. Thank you so much for visiting!

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  5. Oh how my heart hears yours here. My youngest has been sick (stomach flu) and that has meant six nights of barely sleeping. I’m cranky, easily angered, impatient with a wee girl who needs me to be “lovingly” present. God has used this week though to teach me that I need to stop “trying” to love and give and be honest with Him: tell Him exactly how hard it is, release the bottled-up feelings and in releasing them let Him pour His Presence (His Spirit) in to embrace, comfort and gently lead me in His Love (not my own).

    I’m not good at this…He’s teaching me that the first step is to ask Him to help me. Hugs! You are loved, so much more than you (or I) can ever imagine or fathom.

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    1. Anna, it’s SO hard when our kiddos are sick, especially when the illness lingers for days. I hope she will mend soon, and that you’ll get more sleep. It’s hard functioning graciously on too little sleep. BEEN there, friend. I love that God is teaching you how to give up doing in your own strength and being honest with Him. When we come to that place, He meets us there, strengthens us and often surprises us with how He moves. Keep asking, my friend. Keep asking. Thanks for sharing so transparently here.

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  6. My time is not my own… I think that’s the thing I struggle with most in this season. Wanting to be fully present for my kids, for Frank, for me, my community, for God… There’s simply not enough time. Yet, God somehow stretches it and me and helps me be present in the midst of multitasking. Thanks, as always!

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    1. You are in a tough training season, Annie. You do lots of training with your girls, and it requires T-I-M-E. I promise it does pay off down the road. 🙂 May God give you the strength and the wisdom to know how He wants you to spend the time He gives you. Thanks for your transparency.

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  7. I love how you connected being present with humility. Pride convinces us we must run ahead to prepare things, or lag behind to fix others. Being present is the only thing we need to bring to our relationship with God. And He models it with us. Great Post, Jeanne! Happy Friday!

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    1. You are so right, Karen. Pride is so sneaky when it makes us think we’re being productive. I love what you said about being present being the only thing we need to bring into our relationship tim God. I’m thankful He is always present with us. Have a good weekend!

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  8. I remember hearing this once when I was stressed: A bull rider must stay centered or he/she will be thrown off. If you think you can control the bull, you’ll never make it. You have to shift your center of gravity as the bull moves. Life never seems to stay at one level, no matter how tightly we try to hold on eventually we’ll get thrown. What we need is rest. The notion of rest was God’s idea. The psalmist says our job is not to heal our souls, but to make space for them so that healing can come. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul.” So I guess that some of your time should be your own, quiet time where you can address the inner you and let God refresh your soul. Great post Jeanne.

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    1. Gene, that is a profound word picture. And such a vivd description of a good way to live this life: don’t fight the bull, but shift my center of gravity as life moves. Loved that. Even doing this will not prevent me from being thrown sometimes.

      Yes, rest. When we are rested, we can flow with life’s changes so much more easily, can’t we? I love Psalm 23. Thanks for sharing it here.

      I always appreciate your insights, Gene!

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    1. Yes, Denise. I discovered this week this is a key to being fully present. So hard to do, but when I am, it speaks deeply to those I’m willingly present with. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

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  9. Chafing…..now that’s an image that sticks with me. I too want to be willingly present. Great post. I’m linked up later this week; way over in the #60 spot.

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  10. Jeanne,
    I LOVED this post! (and can relate to the “I’m not there yet”)
    “He’s always got a shower of grace waiting to wipe off the grime of my pride. To cleanse the stress from my heart.”

    It was end of semester and I had finals to write and administer and grade and enter (and there were only 3 days of school this week), so I may not link up.
    Still, I really enjoyed your post and wanted to come say hi.
    I’m finding it almost more relaxing to just be present in others’ writing this week rather than trying to write my own.
    Ahhhhhhhhhhh. 🙂
    But, truly, time in God’s presence, as He is ever present, is medicinal.
    Love,
    Tammy

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    1. Sister Tammy, thank you so much for your encouraging words. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner; we were away for the weekend, and this week has had some unexpected happenings. I know these past couple weeks must’ve been crazy-busy for you with the end of semester (I remember the days!). I’m so glad you came to say hi. I always appreciate what you add to conversations.

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  11. Being present is a spiritual discipline. I’m still a work in progress :). I have serene moments on an almost empty ski hill this week. I think having my need to be alone in the great outdoors helps feed me so that I can be present for people (not my natural habitat).

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    1. We’re both still works in progress, Anita. 🙂 There’s something about riding alone in a chair, or skiing down alone that can help clear the mind, and feed the spirit. I hope your time on the slopes was refreshing!

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  12. great post jeanne! i can so identify with the struggles you mention…”when presence requires sacrifice, my heart chafes…” so true! it seems to be a lifelong struggle doesn’t it. the demands are different for me now, but the response is often the same…i chafe!

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    1. Martha, I’m so glad I’m not alone in this struggle. And it seems like, just when I’m getting a handle on one aspect of this, God shows me another area He needs to work on in me. We can both pray that God smooths out those areas in our hearts so that they flex rather than chafe. 🙂

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  13. Oh Jeanne, this was a timely word for me! With a day contracted and limited by chronic illness, I seem to see the precious little “me time” I have as sacrosanct and find it hard to always be available to my beloved when he wants me to be. Writing requires focus and concentration as well as inspiration and it’s one of the most ‘active’ thing I do in a day. But God is slowly teaching me to be interruptible. And I’m slowly learning to have more patience as I see that time never really is my own, or something I have a right to use just as I please. Maybe it’s worse because I’m always chronically exhausted and weary as can be.
    And I feel the pressure of years ticking away and plans unfulfilled. I also know this as a living reality: “I have so much to learn about humility and the beauty that comes from being not only fully present, but willingly present.” Oh yes, me too! You are not alone. Praying for you as you battle in this area. Thank you for a beautiful word. I really needed to read it! 🙂 x

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    1. Joy, forgive me for not responding sooner. We were gone this weekend, and I hit the week running. 🙂

      Chronic illness can be so draining. When you feel up to having “me time” it’s hard to give it up to be present with someone else. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned (and re-learned) is something you said: time is not really my own. God gives us time to use first for Him and how He directs. I’m seeing sometimes it’s for writing, other times it’s for engaging with loved ones. 🙂

      It’s hard to relinquish my hold on “my” time and to trust God’s timing for His plans for me. Again, I’m slowly learning how to do this. Thank you for your prayers. I’m praying for you today too. May God give you energy and a little extra time. 🙂

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