It was after we washed the dishes from dinner that I sat with my eleven-year-old daughter on our swings in our backyard.
Something about lingering in the evening with family brings peace to the soul.
“Mom, come and sit on the swings with me.”
I sat closer, my shoulder pressing up against hers. While both of us watched the dogs play in the yard, my insides began to pace, and I anxiously thought:
“I really should be doing something.”
And Holy Spirit whispered:
“Simply enjoy the moment. Being present in the moment is always doing something. Linger with me.”
I am learning that being aware of His presence changes everything.
Life looks pretty different from a year ago. It’s slower and savored a little more. At the beginning of 2017 the Lord gave me the word, “be.” I had no idea what that was going to look like until I started a media fast. He told me to have no commitments outside the home and to develop the habit of being completely offline for a large part of the day. He wanted me to focus on loving the people in front of me and being present in the moment. This lifestyle was pretty foreign to me. I have always been very involved in church and just plain busy. I like to feel productive. To say this has been difficult is an understatement. It’s made me wrestle with my identity.
Why did I ever wrap my identity around the things I did rather than who I am in Christ?
God was calling me to simply “be,” allowing myself to be vulnerable to His unconditional love. And being vulnerable is not always easy. Some days are hard. Some days I just want to jump back into to “doing,” except I know that is not what He is calling me to. The abundant life promised to us in Christ comes not from striving till exhaustion but from letting go and surrendering to the Spirit. Listening to what He says over us and obeying from abandoned heart.
The single most important thing I have learned over the last few months of simply “being” is that whether we believe it or not, every moment of every day is a gift from God. It is meant to be savored in His presence. Jesus has called each one of us to be aware of His presence, to turn toward Him, and give each moment to Him in surrender for His glory.
I am learning “being” takes practice. It takes disciplining your mind to stay focused on the present moment and not wondering what is coming next. It takes lingering in the moment. It takes saying, “no” to a lot of really great things to say “yes” to love the people in front of you deeply.
Because when you are rushing and yelling “hurry up,” isn’t exactly loving.
I sat on the swings as my mind was telling me to “do something,” and the Lord reminded me to linger with Him and with the people I am called to love. Every time I choose to linger, I fully engage with my family and friends without checking my phone or even the time, savoring the moment given.
So what if instead of rushing to the next thing, we linger, allowing His very presence to refresh us? To bring us joy. To bring us hope and love.
Let’s be purposeful in lingering. In simply “being.” Spend a few extra moments with the people you love. Stop and listen to the child who needs you. Linger with a friend and listen. Sip coffee while it’s still warm. Enjoy the fresh air. Linger in Walmart and bless the cashier with a smile. Give an extra kiss to the ones you love. And while you’re lingering, listen. Listen for the voice of the One who loves you.
More and more this slower, relaxed pace of “being,” that was once so foreign and challenging, is becoming the norm. And I’m beginning to enjoy it.