Being Fully Present

Being Fully Present ~Why is it so Important?

What does it mean for you to “be present” in someone’s life? What expectations do you feel need to be met when someone else requests you to be present with them? Do you have those same expectations for others when you count on them to be present for you? Being present is not just physically being in the same place with someone.  It is willingly giving them your undivided attention.  It is being focused, aware, and fully engaged.  It’s when your mind is not thinking about anything else or anywhere else. Being present is a human need created within each of us and more often, it seems like it’s viewed as an optional favor. 

Why does “being present” seem like such an unattainable goal ? 

It’s simple for us to answer who and what we value most in life. The challenge occurs when we take an honest look to see if our values and priorities match how we choose to spend our time. This often results in discrepancies when we add in our many different roles and responsibilities.  Attempting to figure out ways to get more time out of our days can cause us to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and defeated. It doesn’t matter how many organizational tools, planners, apps, or time management books you invest in.  These tools are great for organizing and decluttering the areas around you, but what about your areas? I have found the best-planned schedule and organized timeslots to be “present” with my children, my husband, my family, and even God continue to fail because my mind is elsewhere.  In order to truly be present, I needed to find ways to declutter my mind.   We all have so many things constantly begging for our attention. It takes continual discipline to ensure we aren’t allowing unnecessary things to consume our minds and take time and focus away from our priorities. 

If we simply ask God to lead our day and we continue to keep our eyes on Him, He will clearly reveal the things on our to-do list that are important to Him and the things that can be removed. This isn’t always a pleasant process, but He will guide us step by step through it. We will continue to have our plans change and obstacles will arise, but instead of viewing this immediately as an inconvenience, strive to stay flexible and open-minded.  Keep in mind that God could be using these situations as opportunities to use us if we are open to it.  Another challenging step is being willing to give up control of our day when we acknowledge and rest in knowing that God is in the lead.  God is the creator of our days, as well as the number of hours within them! He is fully aware of exactly how much time is needed for each of us to accomplish what He has planned for us.   

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul”

Psalm 143:8

Why were we created to live in the present?

We can become so focused on striving towards the future, or stuck in the past, that we put the present aside.  We tend to believe that the present will wait for us and remain exactly the same as it is today. This is far from the truth. Our precious time here is not guaranteed and can easily start to feel like it’s slipping through our fingers.  

Our unfailing God wants us to stay in the present with Him. He doesn’t want us to miss ALL the moments He has scattered throughout our days to bring us joy and contentment. As we learn to listen to Him more and more, we will become surrounded by opportunities to bring others joy and truly experience what it means to be present. Focusing on the time we have instead of the time we don’t have is a great place to start! If you ask, God will show you intentional ways to be present with those around you.  

“Teach us to number our days

so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

-Alicia Barilla

School Counselor and Ed. Therapist, MS, LMHC, ET