"So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."
"What we have now is real. It's genuine."
Henry David Thoreau once said "You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment." Yet, it's hard to find a moment worth staying in isn't it? I mean, we all seek something authentic, genuine, and real when it comes to our relationships, but we often find that we're not really focused on connections that last.
A real connection isn't texting people while at the dinner table with your family-whether you're at home or at a restaurant. I mean the idea that in today's world we are more interested in connecting with those who aren't even present-in the moment, than those who we surround ourselves with, begs the question...why? I mean why do we complain about our 'pretend' friends when we find out they're really not our friends? Why are we shocked when our relationships fail?
As Craig puts it: "As long as we're so busy, our minds and hearts are somewhere else: at work, at home, at the hospital, at the church, on and on. We're simply not present. Our minds are so cluttered with endless to-do lists that there's no room for us to experience the joy of being alive today."
There are consequences to busyness. It begins to destroy and errode us with overwhelming stress and anxiety. Our minds are constantly thinking about the next step. When our friends are venting and or sharing from their brokenness we're busy formulating a follow up question or advice. That's not active listening, that's passive listening. Which means that even though we're physically present, we really aren't mentally or emtionally. As a matter of fact, some of us are down right unavailable emotionally and spiritually.
The challenge in today's world is to be truly present. To be there with all your mind, spirit, and support. Now, I know that I have failed in this area more than once, but it's one that I try to be mindful of. My wife has been very helpful in this area...which is a good thing. We need people who we can trust to keep us on the straight and narrow-not the one that is wide and easily followed.
One of my favorite quotes from this book is: "Normal people live distracted, rarely fully present. Weird people silence the distractions and remain fully in the moment." Again, the issue isn't that we need more time, but it's about better management of the time we've been given. I mean if God gave you another hour in the day and another day of the week...would you actually slow down or try to cram more in? I think if we were honest, a 25/8 type of life wouldn't improve much.
The interesting thing is that God gave us the template...he rested on the 7th day. And he created both day and night...a hint that it's time to sleep, to rest up for another day-not to worry about today, yesterday, and what may come...but to engage it! Craig says "the answer isn't more time but a greater awareness of the time we have."
So let me ask you? When was the last time you took a day of rest? When was the last time you took some time for a nice long walk, bike ride, or took a retreat? When do you take the time to sit, rest, and reflect? You can do all this without a phone, computer, or chores to do. What we all need is some quality time with those who are most important and make sure we set aside some quality time with our creator too.
Craig gives a warning and some advice when he says: "Be careful how you live, how you plan: what you say yes to and what you say no to." He goes on further to say that there's a different between the choices we make-wise or fooolish. As the scripture points out, it's true that our choices set up our future. And I think it's time that we did a better job of examining our responses. Our situation can sometimes makes us desparate and what seems to be the easiest decision/choice may lead to more hard times and more difficult decisions. You and I have opportunities and choices each day. We can either choose to embrace it or ignore it.
So be careful how you live...be mindful of your answers. Sometimes God asks us to make the tough choice, the right choice. It's also important that we understand that we need to take more time in our days and in our weeks for reflection and honest communication with family and friends.
As Mike Yaconelli once said: "Those who pretend have pretend relationships". I think we've done enough pretending...