Have you ever been so focused on something that you forget what’s around you? It happens to me often. Like when I am driving and all I am looking at is the car right in front of me, or the road directly ahead. And then for a split moment, I will look up. And I notice the beautiful lush green hills that surround me, or the bright blue sky, or the pink flowers blooming on the trees that line the street.
All of the sudden, I realize that I hadn’t seen that before. I hadn’t seen it either because I wasn’t looking or because what was right in front of me received all of my attention. As I realize how much more is around me and how incredibly breathtaking it is, I can’t help but be thankful. I can’t help but rejoice because of the life all around me.
I don’t know about you, but this isn’t always my strong suit. I easily get wrapped up in the current frustration and problems right in front of me. I don’t always understand why I can’t get around it either. And not only had it taken all my attention but it stressed me, drained me, and squeezed every ounce of life and joy out of me.
If I am not focused on frustrations in front of me, I am daydreaming about next month, or next season, or when I have a new job, or when I’m married, or when I …. (you get the point)
There are so many things that have led to my discovery of all this dissatisfaction and discontentment in my life. To name a few, my coworker and dear friend gave me some honest feedback; my job became more logistical (which is definitely not my strength); and I am reading a book that is changing the way that I think. It’s really making me ask some hard questions and press into the answers, even if they come from a painful, unwelcoming place.
So what if I could choose where I gave my attention? What if I could just look up and notice things that have always been there, but I have never seen before? Maybe life would be a little more beautiful. And maybe the problems, frustrations and heavy stress would fail in comparison to the weight of each moment, each gift. What if I could live fully in the beauty of the moment I am given.
This is all I keep hearing and thinking, but now I wonder…how do I do that? It must be something supernatural. It must be smothered in grace. God willing, I will enjoy every moment of the season in front of me and let go of every burden of anxiety, fear, control, and even understanding.
“Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. And when I’m always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter. And time slows. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows.
‘Wherever you are, be all there.’ I have lived the runner, panting ahead in worry, pounding back in regrets, terrified to live in the present, because here – time asks me to do the hardest of all: just open wide and receive.
This is where God is. In the present. I AM – His very name. I AM, so full of the weight of the present, that time’s river slows to a still … and God Himself is timeless. It’s not the gifts that fulfill, but the holiness of the space. The God in it. This is supreme gift, time, God Himself framed in moment. And time is only of the essence, because time is the essence of God, I AM. This I need to consecrate: time.”
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp