What can this actually look like? How can we be more present to God (who is always, ever present with us)? How can we, in general, be present to our lives—to our experiences, to our loved ones, to our work and our world?
Here’s a list of 22 ideas, but a big, giant caveat on such lists: No one person can do all of these things at once! And I’m not suggesting that you do – because I certainly don’t (and can’t). Peruse a list like this with your soul listening to the Holy Spirit. What one thing might you want to focus on? Or what new idea springs to your mind as you consider this? Go with it.
• Make it a goal to laugh more today! Laugh and smile with someone you love.
• Pause from busyness to enjoy beauty: nature, music, art, ideas. Just 5 minutes can transform your mindset for the rest of the day.
• Immerse yourself in a creative endeavor: Cook a meal with gusto, write a letter to a friend (on actual paper), scrawl out a drawing, sing your heart out in the shower.
• Enjoy your work. Value the tasks or employment God has put on your plate today, be it housework, office work, or whatever. Find meaning it in – sacredness – and find joy in utilizing your skills and efforts to get a job well done.
• Move a little more. Get that heart pumping. Use that body God has given you. Exercise (and try to enjoy it).
• Pause to be grateful for your life. Say thank you. Say it again. And again.
Love a little more.
• Hug someone. Hug more often and more purposefully today than you normally would. (Other appropriate & affirming touches are great too: high fives, should pats, side hugs, real handshakes, you name it!)
• Ask open-ended questions, then give the gift of listening.
• Look someone in the eye and speak words of hope, truth, and affirmation.
• Married? Kiss (and then some). Intentionally choose love over lethargy.
• Greet a stranger, a neighbor, an acquaintance with a warm welcome. Do that extra thing, that extra kindness, that’s been on your mind for awhile. Bless another.
Pray a little more.
• Prayer comes easy for some and is harder for others. (I’m in the second camp a lot of the time!). Simply choose a bit more time for prayer today – a sacred five minutes (or ten or fifteen) to pause, to praise, to ponder life with God.
• Pray in a different way. There are many ways to pray – and here is where prayer’s “difficulty” for me (and maybe for you) is erased. When prayer is busted out of a tightly defined box and opened up as a free and gracious gift, it becomes a joy rather than a task. It fits. Check out (and print off and share) this new FREE pdf with a variety of prayer ideas.
Be a little more present to God’s faithful presence.
• Identify 1 distraction and reduce it, step away from it, or fast from it. (Umm. . . you may not select a child as your distraction.)
• Post It! Write a simple reminder message like “I am with you always” or “I am here, right now” on several post it notes, then stick them in the spots you most often go (rooms in your house, in your car, bathroom mirror, cubicle at work). When you see them, draw your attention—even for just a few seconds—to God’s faithful presence with you.
• Talk to yourself. Well, actually to GOD, not yourself. But start an internal dialogue with God about whatever—deep stuff, simple stuff, feelings, questions, randomness. Rather than just thinking to yourself, think with an awareness that God is with you, hears you, sees you. When the “conversation” often seems one-sided, that’s OK. When it dwindles off, that’s OK too – just pick it up later.
• Go outside. Look up. Look down. Look around. Notice the beauty and wonder of the created world. This often—for me at least—can re-center my soul better than just about anything. Even 30-seconds of noticing nature will wake up your soul and reinvigorate you with a taste of joy.
Learn a little more.
• Use social media (or old-fashioned actual real-life conversations!) to ask your friends when, where, and how they best awaken to God’s faithful presence.
• Battling frustration, discouragement, or depression? Rediscover peace, contentment, and joy as you tune into God’s loving, gracious presence. Journey through Restore Your Joy (another Flourishing Faith study).