It is amazing when we are fully engaged. Being mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually focused in the conversations, tasks, and relational moments we find ourselves in is a true gift. It is a gift that truly blesses others, but also opens the opportunity to shine as connected contributor to the community. Unfortunately, we live in a world with multiple distractions, opportunities, and demands that pull us away from being present. I walked into a store ready to purchase an item and the person behind the counter was looking at their phone screen obviously in conversation with someone over text, laughing and talking to themselves. They interacted with the phone, totally unaware that a line of people had formed. Someone in the line spoke up, “Excuse me, can we…” the person behind the counter shot up their hand, laughed at the screen, finished the text and looked up. As the transactions went on the employee kept checking their phone and would quick pick it up and type between customers. Most everyone in line was frustrated, some tried to ask questions but got no answer, and some just walked out. This employee was not present.
In our always connected world with 24/7 access, it so easy to slip into the social media world and away from engaging the moment. I face that same pull. One of our grandsons was over and as he was off playing and, being I had my phone handy to take those oh-so-cute pictures, I noticed my email box had a few new emails, so I decided to open a few. This led me to check out Facebook and before you know it I had stopped connecting with my grandson and was lost in email, Instagram, Facebook, and texts. My grandson noticed and crawled up in my lap, pushed the phone away and said, “Hi Papa, let’s play.” So I put the phone down and we had a wonderful time!
Connection is vital in our busy world. We need others in our lives to help us and for us to help them.
Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Too many people are lonely and face the struggles of life alone because we get so caught up in so much we don’t take time to be present and ‘all there.’ Connection takes a focus, a willingness to be ‘all there.’ The Bible challenges us to be present with God.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
To be still is to cease striving, to stop and focus. Yes, most certainly with God, but also as we relate and spend time with others. To engage, even though it may be awkward. Relationship and interacting with others is awkward, but just like learning ballroom dancing it takes practice, and yes we will step on each other’s toes!
Being present will also give the gift to exercise and use our abilities. Each one of us has something we can contribute to our families, to our friends, to our church, to those we live around and to our communities.
1 Corinthians 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Now these contributions don’t automatically happen. It takes us being engaged, present to notice and participate. It means we need to be daring to try.
I think social media and an active and full life is wonderful, yet there is a present, a gift in the presence of being ‘all-there.’ One of my mentors said something to me long ago that I need to continue to be reminded of, “Where ever you are, be all there.” That’s the challenge today. You just might find a great blessing, a present in presence!
Church can be a great place to practice presence; presence with God and with others. If you do not already attend a church, we would love to invite you to be present at Cypress Church or one or our branch churches. Our web site has all the information for all our campuses: www.cypresschurch.net . We would love to connect with you.
Seeking to be ‘all there’ along with you,