One evening we were talking as a family and one of my daughters was sharing stories; things that were going on in her life, what she was feeling, what she was learning, what was going on in her heart. It was wonderful. I love the way she can get so animated and into her story, and the fact that she will make the time and take the time just to talk with us. Well, as the conversation went on I wish I could say I was raptured with attention, on the edge of my seat, hanging on very word, but something happened.
Now, this ‘something’ that happened could be because I have a few ADD tendencies (Attention Deficit Disorder…wow, that sounds serious like I can’t keep to a subject and keep inserting different streams of thought…duh! There I go again). Or it could be because of my intelligence and that my brain tracks on multiple levels like a computer working a number programs at the same time (well I kind of doubt that, I think the ADD tendencies is a better choice…speaking of choice…thanks for choosing to read this…it’s like we are spending a moment together…Ahhh!…there I go again). Or this ‘something’ could be a lack of discipline to be “All There.”
You know what I mean when I say be ‘all there’? It’s being present, in the now, choosing to give our attention to where we are; it’s where ever you are, being all there. See, as my daughter was talking I kept looking at her and nodding my head, but my mind took a little field trip. Something she said triggered a thought I had or something I needed to get done, and instead of setting it aside to be all there, I checked out and ventured to some other place.
As I was mentally exploring this thought I began to hear something in the distance. I couldn’t quite make it out but it sounded familiar. It got louder and louder, and finally I was snapped back in to present by my daughter just inches away from my face saying, “Dad, DAD – Pay Attention!” “Ok, Ok, sorry.” Oops, I just checked out from one of the most important people in my life. How lame is that? Wait, don’t answer that. The question was meant to cause you to think about how easy it is to not be all there, not to look at me making a not so great choice.
Now, I bring this up because in our smart phone, texting, Facebook, instant connection world to email, texts, posts and such, it is so easy to never quite be all there. How many people do you see in meetings where they are supposed to be all there, but they are checking their phones or just checked out with that glazed look that they are somewhere far far away. Why, they have even had to make laws so we are all there while driving. I think you get the point.
Let’s go a little further with this idea of wherever you are, be all there. This morning I read Acts 17:26-27.
Acts 17:26-27 From one man He (God) made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
This is Paul talking to some really smart guys in Athens (feel free to read all of chapter 17) and letting them know God not only created us humans, but orchestrated where people live! So you are where you are because God placed you there. He did that initially so when you reached out for God, you would find Him. I know I have experienced that in my own life. When I was at a place where I was considering God, God had placed a guy named Jeff in my life, who just happened to live in the apartment building next to mine. So when I reached out to God, God used Jeff who was ‘all there’ to help me find God.
Well you can guess where I’m going with this. See, we are placed where we are; the home, the neighborhood, the city, the country, the business, the family, the school, the sport, the club, the meeting, the friendship, the store, the vacation…so that when people reach out for God you can help them find Him, grow in Him, and for us to know and grow as well.
So be all there. Wherever you are, be all there. Don’t check out and give minimal attention to a number of things…be all there. Be all there with your neighbors, be all there in your work, in your play, in your service to God, in your worship, in your study of the Bible, in your time with your friends, your parents, your kids. My loving daughter brought me back with a wink and that dazzling smile…to be all there.
Seeking to be all there with you,