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Present & Presence

By Elaine Saville

As I see the wide leaves of our giant iris emerging, and the first tiny purple

clusters of flowers on our wisteria peeping out, I feel delight rising in my heart. I

greet the first signs of this new season with anticipation. At the same time, it causes

me to reflect on how quickly seasons change, and how swiftly time evaporates. As a

result, now more than ever, I am learning about enjoying each day fully.

I am becoming more aware that at times, although my body has been in the "here

and now," my heart has been somewhere locked in the future, or at times, the past. I

tend to be more of a future-oriented person, setting goals, striving, declaring my

faith in a better tomorrow. But what about the present? I can make a strong

statement of faith by choosing to be present in the present. In other words, being

alive with the awareness that God is here, right now and focusing on that reality.

God wants us to experience the fullness of life, here and now.

Jesus said, "Don't worry." Worry usually involves fear about the future. My mom

is known for having many sayings, magnets and pictures on her refrigerator. One is

an old French Proverb:

“Some of your griefs you have cured;

The worst you still have survived.

But what torment of pain you have endured,

From evils that never arrived.”

When I start “future tripping,” I stop and shift my awareness to the present. What

is God saying to me this day? He will take care of my tomorrows. How is He speaking to me? Many times it is through other people, His Word, and sometimes through nature.

If my mind is in the future, I can't really hear what He is saying now.

Sometimes we are so broken from the pain and shame of the past, that painful

memories replay over and over, with the futility of a hamster running on its wheel.

It robs us of our precious "now" experiences. One simple tool used for trauma healing

is to bring one’s awareness out of the past and into the here and now. This involves

bringing thoughts into the present by engaging our senses to experience the current

environment, while choosing to focus on God’s peace and love.

Sometimes the present seems pretty difficult to maneuver. This is a time when it

is especially important to find God present is the middle of current circumstances. In

Spiritual Direction, I often encourage the “directee” to look for the "gift" in the

difficult situation. Graham Cook has a saying that in every circumstance God has

already provided a promise and a provision. By turning our attention to God in the

present moment, we can find God’s promise and provision. Of course, there are

many gifts the Lord offers as we navigate a troublesome situation with Him. One

Divine gift He might reveal is the conforming of ourselves into His image. Another is

intimacy with Him.

I find that if I begin my morning by acknowledging God with thanksgiving and

worship, it helps me to stay “centered” throughout the day. I can also ask the Holy

Spirit to help me keep my thoughts and emotions in the present moment and to be

aware of His presence throughout the day. When I am in communion with Him, I am

much less apt to worry.

This day I am choosing to give my concerns of the present, goals for the future,

and the pains of the past, to God. Just for this day I am going to focus on being

present to His presence, receiving the abundant life He has for me. I will "stop and

smell the roses" (or wisteria 😊) and I will choose to enjoy my life as it is today. I will

be present to His presence, trust Him, and choose to receive the gifts He has for me


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