Heads or Tails: Intention
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]B[/mk_dropcaps]eing present requires equal parts intention and spontaneity. They are two sides of the same coin. While they seem to be contradictions, we must be able to operate in both as the situation requires. I used to think that walking with God meant there is a set formula of what is wrong and what is right. That simply is not all true. While God has principles we must follow for the best life, to follow Jesus actually means we have to live in the “grey area” a lot of the time. Be in the world, but not of it. Be seated in heaven, but grounded on earth. Be both truthful and yet loving. And many more seeming contradictions. But don’t take my word for it, here is the word of God: [mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.- Ecclesiastes 7:18.[/mk_blockquote]
We can’t live in the extremes because even as followers of the creator of the universe we still have to deal with a fallen world. We can expect both goodness from God and also experience pain/challenges as the price of sin.
Also in Ecclesiastes the bible states:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.- Ecclesiastes 9:11.[/mk_blockquote]
We have to address the impartial impact of time and chance. No one is immune to their effects. It does not matter how good or how bad you are. We are all mixes of the two anyway.
We must be able to roll with the punches to keep our hearts set on God first and foremost. That is where the intention and spontaneity of being present comes in. Part of loving Him is loving his people, and we must intentionally seek ways to do so. That means having eyes to see and ears to hear when He is prompting us to be in the moment and slow down to engage in a meaningful way. It is not about a geographical position of intention, but a nature and condition of the heart.
Being intentionally present, means you know how to create space for God to move. What does that look like practically? Well one obvious area (like we talked about in Distraction Demolition) is to take out the unimportant distractions of your attention (ie- facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc…). It also requires an awareness of your capacity to know how to bring our best to the conversations and situations that are of highest priority. That means when you are connecting with a spouse, loved one or close friend you take the necessary steps to be clear headed enough to fully engage.
For me there are a few keys I must adhere to intentionally. First off, is making sure I have had time to pray and connect with God keeping Him as a focus. Secondly,I have to be sure to have eaten frequently enough, this girl does suffer from the condition of “hanger.” And one more key though there are a few more is that I have to get in at least 30 min of exercise 4-6x/week (I was made to be active so if I am not no one wins). I have to include those things into my daily routine intentionally be able to remain present.
That means that sometimes to be able to be present and go beyond the surface level with people I have to take “self-care” time. I prioritize it especially in seasons of highest stress. Those little things are intentional, but they make room for the capacity to be intentional when the opportunities for deeper connection and relationships present themselves. In Christian culture this may not seem to be in alignment with the mindset of “esteeming others higher than yourself.” But I would argue it actually is because you have positioned yourself in the practical to be free to do so willingly and fully.
I am always re-evaluating how I am doing in this arena. What has freed me up is the realization that we are supposed to. We are to press on toward the goal as Paul says in the letter to the Philippians 3:13-15. We forget the things of the past and keep moving forward making necessary adjustments and leaning into God’s correction.
To wrap this all up let me leave you with this thought. If you were your friend, how valued, loved and seen would you feel by your friendship and care? If not very much what have you been neglecting to be intentional with in your daily routine to create that space and capacity?