– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator
Do I want my people to remember me for doing or being?
The dictionary defines present as: being with one or others or in the specified or understood place; being here. As a mother, wife and employee my life tends to be driven by to-do lists – as I am sure many of you can relate. I can hardly believe we are at the brink of November! Just the thought of all the to-dos on my list makes my heart race. In that place I am faced with a choice, what kind of woman do I want to be in this season? Do I want my people to remember me for doing or being? Being present that is.
It can be easy to face this question and make presence another to-do on my list. I’ve heard of people actually scheduling time to be present – which I’m not knocking – do what it takes my friend! In my own life I’m challenged to let things go and be fully present, in the moment, with the people around me – those I love and those I don’t even know so well. Because true presence builds connection and the opportunity to experience community – a sense that you are not alone. Looking back over my life, I can’t think of one regret when I let things go and decided to stay present in a moment, savoring this season of my girls playing in the backyard, our neighbors sharing their stories, or sitting with my family as we reminisce on our own childhood moments. On the contrary, some of my biggest regret is related to my fear of presence… more-so the avoidance of pain.
You see, being fully present can be even harder when it means walking through pain. For many years I lived to avoid pain at all costs, both yours and mine. The truth is, life is filled with pain and we have no promise that we are exempt for experiencing it. Brene Brown writes in her recent book Braving the Wilderness, “It takes real courage to allow ourselves to feel pain.” She continues, “So, to seek out moments of collective joy and show up for moments of collective pain, we have to be brave. That means we have to be vulnerable.”
I have realized that it’s easy to show up for celebrations, weddings and holidays but it’s much harder to be present in pain. In my own pain I tend to shut-down, in the face of another’s I’m tempted to withdraw or avoid. As I am growing in understanding my own heart, I am challenged to lean in more to the pain. I long to know I am not alone… and in-the-like, I long for others to feel seen, loved and not-alone.
As we embark on this season of Thanksgiving, take the time to be present. Look for those special moments to savor with your loved ones. We are surrounded by pain, take courage, lean in and give someone the gift of your presence. We are not meant to walk alone. If you find yourself in a season of pain, friend, may you experience the healing love of God. I pray we as the body of Christ, reveal his love to his world.
One Step Further:
- Where is God calling you to be more present to him? To others? To your own heart?
- What would you have to believe in order to be still and know that he is God in the midst of your pain?