Years ago I read a book of life lessons by a spunky Franciscan nun after the heart of Jesus, Mother Angelica. She often talked about “living in the present”. It popped up repeatedly, so I stopped to ponder that concept. I made a conscious effort to cast my worries and anxieties on the Lord and tried embracing every moment before me. I felt free to live and love in the present moment, which flooded me with joy and peace.
Fast forward a few years, and had begun to drift away from the present and found myself in a fantasy world sparked by too much time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, texting, etc. I was literally living in the present, but my mind was often someplace else, always wanting more. Sometimes I’d get so invested in my past that it was hard to move onto what was right before me. Mostly though, I found myself anxious about my unknown future, and it prevented me from diving into the new adventure right before me. While my mind was so preoccupied with a false world, I missed out on so many encounters of love by not being fully present.
Simply listening, smiling, asking questions, putting the phone down in the company of others, greeting people as they pass by, or making any small sacrifice for love of another could make a difference in someone’s day, even your own! One of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa is “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” We’re here to serve. To love and to be loved. To be Christ to others.
Mother Angelica spoke of God’s will in the present moment, “We have to learn to live in the Present Moment. We have to ask God: What are You calling me to do now, in this Present Moment? Not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now. God’s will is manifested to us in the duties and experiences of the Present Moment. We have only to accept them and try to be like Jesus in them.”
What are some ways to be fully alive in the present moment? I’m currently trying to figure it out and get back to that way of living, for it allows for real Faith!
- The first and most important thing to do is pray. Wherever you are, offer God your time. Talk to him and ask him, just as Mother Angelica instructed, “What are you calling me to do now, in this Present Moment?
- If you, like me, find social media, texting, television, etc. to be a distraction, limit your time or take a hiatus. (Read a recent Modesty Honors Beauty post for more on that: https://modestyhonorsbeauty.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/do-it-for-the-gram/). I can guarantee, it will be a struggle, but you fill find yourself much freer because of it!
- Take 30 minutes of silence each day. The Holy Spirit comes in the silence of the heart. So many people say that they’ve never felt God’s presence or heard his direction, but perhaps they’ve never taken the time to listen. Talk to God about your day and listen to Him. If 30 minutes of silence isn’t possible because, well, kids or a full day of classes and work, give Him whatever you have. Take a few minutes of meditation and talk with God at the beginning of your day, and make your whole day a prayer. Give what you have. Come Holy Spirit!
- Be intentional! If you want to live in the present moment, look for little sacrifices, little acts of love, that you can give presently. I saw a post on Instagram not too long ago about 7 simple ways to grow in holiness before noon, and I want to share them with you.
-Get out of bed with the first alarm
-Make your bed
-Say a little extra prayer before breakfast
-Take care of dishes
-Smile at a stranger on your way to work (or school)
-Deny the urge to snack after breakfast
-Take notice of something or someone you normally wouldn’t
These are simple tips for living in the present. I hope they help. I’m trying to figure it out too. If you have any suggestions, please comment. We’re all in this crazy life together, striving for eternal joy!