Over the past few months I have been in transition. A bit of culture shock as I have left my home in the Philippines and have re-entered my passport country, the United States; for a much-needed sabbatical.
I have never been very good at transitions. For some reason, even if I know they are coming and I think I have prepared for them, I still struggle.
This transition has been no different.
Transitions cause me a great deal of personal, inner reflection as I assess what I am leaving behind and begin to anticipate what I am yet to embrace or going towards.
For several weeks now, I have sensed an undercurrent of overwhelm. I couldn’t trace it to one thing, as it seemed to be thrown haphazardly across my soul, with multiple layers of intertwined and unrecognizable emotions.
Some good, some confusing, some worthy of great rejoicing; yet all mingled with a deep vat of unknowns.
I couldn’t sift and sort my emotions. It was as if my soul was fighting against itself. As my emotions began to emote and project themselves sideways towards others, I knew I needed to get a hold of them.
Desperate for answers I went to the source of my strength and cried out.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61 (KJV)
As my spirit called out in desperation to God, I sensed the power of the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart; “Linda Jane, stop looking toward the future and live today – fully present.”
This began a daily refrain for me during this time of upheaval. Each morning I began to embrace the day by rehearsing what I sensed the Spirit of God was urging me to do.
“Live fully present today.”
“Enjoy each aspect of this moment.”
“Appreciate the small joys of this interruption.”
“Embrace this situation.”
“Jump into this task with joy.”
“Bask in this ______________.”
Living fully present enables me to:
Live out of my true-self as I embrace the here-and-now
As I began to live fully present, each moment became important to me. Each individual situation became a time to re-ask myself to consider how Christ would have me to live wholly present out of who he created me to be and to embrace the immediate situation as a gift from Him.
In embracing the immediate, I also began to live fully present in the current moment, and the urgency to untangle my emotions or solve the unknowns of the future began to lessen.
I also noticed that I began to make better decisions of how to spend my time. I chose to be present with people, over wanting time alone to sort through what I was feeling.
I began to invest myself into the woundedness of others, instead of sifting through my own inner struggles.
I saw myself making better choices that have allowed me to live in the here and now and not the regrets of the past, or the unknowns of the future.
I began to see how much time I had wasted in trying to analysis myself, and instead I traded in those wasted moments for living in this moment. In this I realized that there are no “re-do’s” – so live today fully present.
Living fully present:
Exchanges anxiety and worry for joy and intentionality
Living presently has allowed me to enter new situations with a new sense of courage and a desire to invest in what really matters. These situations have produced great joy in my heart, the small treasured moments of life that I may have missed in the past have beckoned me, and I have entered without a hidden agenda or personal expectations.
In entering what God has laid before me today and being fully present, I have discovered that ever-so-slowly my soul has become unfettered from the worries of the future. I am making choices that count. I am entering the heart of others lives and not placing all my energies on myself. This has allowed my heart to be able to respond with grace to the immediate needs of others instead of responding out of resentment. And this allows me to offer up myself fully to be who God created me to be.
I still pray for future decisions; but I am learning to leave them at the foot of the cross. They are not mine to carry, and I have assurance that in due time God will lead and guide me in the way He would have me to go. In relinquishing this, I have begun to slowly replace worry for joy. (Psalm 32:8)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave … I can only give as God intended if I am living fully present. This is a sacrificial living. This is intentional, and others focused. (John 3:16)
Living full present:
Allows me the privilege to represent Christ to those around me
As I learn to live fully present out of my unique self, I will then be able to reach out to others as Christ intended.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put-on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
These traits of the Spirit of God can only come from living presently out of who God created me to be. If I am caught up in the regrets of the past or the weight of what will happen in my future, I cannot live fully present. My gaze is continuously upon myself and not invested as Christ desires, on others.
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, …”
Philippians 2:2-8 ESV
- Today is a gift. How will you choose to live it?
- At this moment, in this time, where has God brought you? How can you make the choice to live fully present?
- How does living fully present enable you to live with no regrets?
- How does living fully present enable you to live with intentionality?
- As you live fully present, what worries or anxieties will you be leaving behind?
- What assurance do you have that God will take care of your concerns? ( Check out Philippians 4:6-7)
Live fully present in this moment.
Live fully present as your true-authentic self.
Live fully present as the unique woman God created you to be.
Living fully present means living freely as the Beloved daughter of God.
A life filled with joy
Different by Design.
If you are living fully present in each moment, you will be able to make the best choices possible. This will lead to a joy-filled, more fulfilled you. In turn, this will yield a life that is lived intentionally; out of a God-honoring, gospel focus.
In living fully present, you will lovingly and willingly extend your hands and heart to invest sacrificially in the lives of others.
I know that this cannot be done perfectly, and in truth I find it is easier to navel gaze and become self-absorbed, then to live fully present; but I also know that the pleasure of God is expressed through me when I live with authenticity, fully present as the woman He created me to be.
The image of God has been imprinted upon me. As I gaze outward at other’s needs, I in-turn lay my own burdens at God’s feet and therefore show the world the truth about God as my provider, protector and peace.
In this mere action His image is revealed to those around me and His glory is shown. It is not because of what I do, but because of what Christ has done in and through me.
God, teach me to be fully present in the situation I am currently in. As I am present I am aware that you are here with me. I confess that I have been spending too much time worrying about the future or my immediate concerns; instead of living presently and allowing you to lead and guide me.
Thank you, God, that you will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go, you will counsel me with Your eye upon me.
God, you tell me to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let my requests be made known to You. I know that for me to live presently I need to entrust my past, my personal needs and my future to You.
God, in this act of trust, you promise that the peace of God, which surpasses all my understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.
It is my desire God, to be a woman who extends compassion, a heart of kindness, and patience towards others.
God, I know that if I am not living fully present, that I can more easily become frustrated with others, and often impatient and filled with worry. This anxiety can cause me to feel like my own needs will not be met.
Guard me, God, against a heart of worry, fear, envy, anxiety and self-seeking. Protect me against the lies of the evil one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy my joy.
God, help me to live towards others with a heart filled with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May I take a step of courage and faith to live fully present today. May I live a life that brings You the glory You desire and deserve. ~ In Jesus Mighty Name… Amen
(The following prayer scriptures are taken from the Bible: 1 John 1:9; Psalm 32:8; Philippians 4:6-7; John 10:10; Colossians 3:12-14, Ephesians 4:1)
Photography by Linda Jane Dingeldein
Wherever this moment has you…Live Fully Present!