Now: Living in the Now

Christmas on the outside

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—NOW. 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!

NOW

I’ve written before about living in the now. And most of the time, that’s where I want to be.

But I confess, in the middle of a crazy season the now is all I see. This moment. The huge to-do list to “make Christmas happen.” My soul longs for more than this moment offers. More depth. More peace.

At the beginning of the month, I wrote about the peaceful season I was determined to have. Yeah, well . . . Unexpected business trips, a kiddo coming down with strep, and the opportunity bless friends by watching one of their kiddos put a huge dent into my idyllic peaceful season.

My now has felt weighted down by the burden of the things to do, to organize for our Christmas season.

My now has been consumed with wrapping presents, getting them in the mail, running errands, and planning for happenings later in the month.

gift-wrapping

Sometimes, I wish my now looked different than my reality. I wish that each moment could be filled with quiet, with a sense of God’s presence.

When the to-do list grows, my shoulders stoop. When all I can see is the tasks demanding my attention, my spirit deflates.

When that’s all my now holds, I end up weary.

I know that’s not where God wants me to live. Sometimes our nows are temporary states. Other times, they are conditions where we have to choose how to respond.

joy-shelfIt’s a little over a week before Christmas, and I’m choosing to change what my now looks like.

Instead of the tasks ruling my days, I’m giving myself permission to enjoy certain activities, like watching old Christmas movies. I’m reminding myself of the beauty of spending time with my guys in the family room, lit only by Christmas lights.

I don’t have to get all those cards in the mail before Christmas. It’s in the moments when my boys want to cuddle, to talk, or to goof around that now feels most pleasant.

Those moments are my priorities, my gifts from God and from my boys.

how-will-i-spend-my-now-copyI don’t want to look back on this season, only to regret missing the gifts God gave me in my “now.”

Each moment is precious. Each moment I live with the opportunity to make a choice. How will I spend my now?

What about you? How do you choose the best over the “must?” How do you make your moments count?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung at Heading Home Five Minute Friday—Now

Click to Tweet: Sometimes, I wish my now looked different than my reality.

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28 thoughts on “Now: Living in the Now

  1. Great essay, Jeanne, and I love the pictures!

    With a life that’s now limited to ‘must’, I don’t really experience a dichotomy. ‘Best’ is, and perhaps always was a chimera. Now is all there ever was, and it deserved, but sadly did not always receive my best efforts.

    So maybe that is the key; must deserves best.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/12/your-dying-spouse-246-defiance-despair.html

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    • You put things into perspective for me Andrew. I know you’re seeing the close of your days come nearer. Too often, I forget that I don’t really know the number of my days. I can look forward, forgetting that this moment is the only one I truly have. There is value in the “musts” of life, and I need to hold them with this in mind. Thank you for these reminders for an accurate perspective.

      Praying for you, my friend.

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  2. NOW that was great! I’m impressed that you wrote all that in 5 minutes. What a blessing to follow you on twitter today! Have a blessed Christmas!

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  3. I love this. I have felt so wrapped up in “write this” or “sing that” that I forget to take time to simply breath in the now. They are only little for so long. I have to enjoy them now before they disappear. Thank you for your words Jeanne. 🙂

    Hugs,
    Melinda

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    • Melinda, it’s far too easy to get wrapped up in the busy-ness, the to-do’s, and even the want-to’s. But you pegged it. We need to breathe in each moment. Stop what we’re doing to wrap our arms around our not-so-littles and cherish them. I hope that, as you walk through the days between now and Christmas, you give and receive lots of hugs and take moments to laugh. That’s what I’m aiming to do.

      Merry Christmas, friend!

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  4. Each moment is precious. Each moment I live with the opportunity to make a choice. How will I spend my now? I need to post this in big letters on my fridge! I’m always living in the “should do…..”

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    • Stephanie, I struggle all year long with living in the “should do’s…” of life. It’s a constant choosing of best over urgent, isn’t it?

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope your Christmas holds much joy!

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  5. Your pictures are lovely. The thought about changing our now is a powerful one for me, someone who gets caught up in everything that “needs” to be done. Thanks for sharing this. I’m hoping you have peace in your home and soul as you prepare for Christmas. Happy Friday, friend. xo

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    • Kristin, I have a tendency of getting caught up in the whirl of “Need to do” too. I’m trying to grow in being intentional about having enough space in my life for stillness, for laughing, and for just being with my family and friends.

      And my soul is beginning to settle and feel peace being breathed in. It’s nice…. 😉 I hope your Christmas holds much laughter with your family and peace in each moment for you. So thankful for you, friend.

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  6. This is so true. There’s living openly in the moment and narrowly focusing on the minute of the moment…. Thanks for this encouragement, especially in this season of pausing to see the glorious bigger picture.

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    • Pausing to see the glorious bigger picture . . . what a beautiful way to word it, Annie. May we both be intentional about living in the moment without getting snagged in by the minutes, if that makes sense. Have a wonderful Christmas, my friend!

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  7. Great post. It’s the everyday stuff that happens so we need to stop and live for now because we don’t know about tomorrow. I’m guilty of planning for the future without engaging in the present.

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    • You’re right, Pirkko. We can’t take for granted we’ll have anything beyond this moment. We need to live for and in the now, don’t we? I have a tendency to do what you described—planning for the future without engaging in the moment. Thanks for your words here.

      I hope your Christmas is a special one!

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  8. Enjoy it all, Jeanne! Soak. It. Up. Strep really takes the zest from life, but you are doing it just right. My now is over on my blog: lots of breaking busy and being present. p.s. I wanna stick out my tongue and catch the snowflakes falling on the page! (love)

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    • Yes, Christina, your post resonated with me. 🙂 I’m working to be intentional (that just sounds wrong somehow…) to Soak it all up. Every moment. Laugh. Hug. Moment with my family. I love the idea of breaking busy and being present.

      I like those snowflakes too. 🙂 They’re fun, aren’t they? Have a wonderful Christmas!

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  9. The only presents I’ve purchased are those for the staff Christmas party tomorrow night. I’m choosing to not stress about it–we’ll have a small Christmas with just Pedro, myself and our Chinese daughter (foreign exchange student from 8 years ago who now works in the US). Maybe I’ll sew pajamas and robes for everyone once vacation starts. Whatever it will be, it will be small :). And I’m ok with that. Just having a two-week vacation feels like a big enough gift for me right now!

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    • Anita, the only reason I have presents to wrap is because hubs and I have a tradition of doing our Christmas shopping on Black Friday. We’re not the insane ones, but we’re up and out kinda early, and we make a day of purchasing gifts, drinking coffee, talking and people watching. The most important thing about gifts is the thought that goes into them. I’m sure whatever you sew will be appreciated. And I’ll try not to be a wee bit envious since needles and I don’t get along. 😉

      Enjoy your two week vacation and have a beautiful Christmas, my friend!

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  10. ❤️️ This: “Instead of the tasks ruling my days, I’m giving myself permission to enjoy certain activities, like watching old Christmas movies.” yes yes yes. I agree. Life passes too quickly to miss those precious moments. Enjoy them while you have them. I wish I could turn back the clock and be just like you. (In #17 spot this week)

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Jeanne. ❤️️

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    • Shauna, life DOES pass too quickly. I try to remember that when everything feels overwhelming. I’ve got to pare down to the most important things, and to allow myself to be fed by the things that fill me so I have more to pour out. 🙂 I keep reminding myself of the friends’ whose children are grown and no longer living at home. And I do my best to enjoy my time with them. I know it’s fleeting!

      Have a wonderful Christmas!

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    • Yes, Tara. There are definitely times when we really, really want to change our realities. I guess we learn the most when we can lean into Jesus, no matter what our current reality looks like. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, friend!

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  11. The awareness that you are on the road to frenzy and then STOP is commendable J! Setting the intention to be in the now and then following through is the best present we can give ourselves daily I think. Have a wonderful week!

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