The word discipline can conjure up many thoughts depending on your life experience – past and present. Some will right away think about discipline as punishment or correction. For others it’s a way to live and accomplish whatever it is you need to do. Or we could think about it as a noun…there are disciplines that we work on…particularly when it comes to faith. Here’s our working definition for today:
Discipline: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior – Merriam Webster
There are many (as in, several…so, so many) areas of life where I need to exercise more discipline but today I’m thinking about being PRESENT. Even as I type, I’m fighting my brain to just be present here, with you, to express a thought. I can hear the whir of the laundry calling to me, there are random items belonging to the children strewn throughout the house that I want to go tidy up, my bed hasn’t been made yet and I have so much on my to-do list that I almost feel paralyzed as to what to do next. What I really need is to be present, in THIS moment and SPACE and just do the next right thing…which is sitting with my keyboard and you in mind and working this out.
To do or become requires the discipline of being present.
This won’t be an exhaustive list but there are at least a few simple steps we can follow to practice the discipline of being present right where we are.
#1 – Trust God for later…you’ve only got now…and what happens if you waste all of your nows thinking, worrying, planning for later and then they don’t come or turn out as expected? Let God be God and you be you. Do what you need to do now (mentally, physically, emotionally) and leave later for…later. Thank goodness, you and I are not in charge of the universe. In all actuality we are probably not nearly as important to the functioning of life as we think we are. Let’s try to rest in that a bit.
#2 – Still your body
- If you are reading or doing “sitting down” work….Keep your fanny in the chair! I need to tell myself this often…just keep my rear in the chair. Or if you need to get a load of laundry folded…don’t walk away until it’s done.
- Think about the physical reality of your now…engage the senses – what do you see, smell, hear, feel or taste? This is a trick I have employed to fend off anxiety attacks. When my mind is sharply focused on the physical reality of my “now”, it’s hard to get swept away in any place else.
#3 –Still your mind
- No multitasking – I don’t know why we think we can attend to more than one thing at a time. I can’t and neither can you and there is science to back this up. Go HERE to check it out.
- No surfing your phone – I can have an entire conversation (not really) with my children and have no idea what just happened. When you have tweens/teens…that is scary! If you need to give your spouse/friend/children some undivided attention then put everything else to the side and do it.
- No rushing ahead mentally. If you are so focused on the next item on your list while you are doing what you are doing NOW, the thing you are doing now will not get done the way it should and the thing you shall engage in later probably won’t either. Make sense?
Presence makes your life into a greater gift than Productivity. Ann Voskamp
In the end, what people will remember about us is how we made them feel. Who we were will stand out more than what we did. We become who we are by sitting in the presence of God and then being present with others to practice all that we are learning from Him.
How can you be present today?