It was a beautiful fall day. My older two children were at school, and it was one-on-one time with my two year old. The boy could live outside year-round, so we headed out to play and enjoy the weather. Up here in Minnesota we know that winter is always right around the corner. We take advantage of the nice fall days when we have them.
I offered to push my son on our swing, knowing he would love the idea. Our swing, with its big circle base and spider web patterned seat, hangs idyllically from the biggest oak tree on our farm. If you look north from the swing, an impressive corn field expands before your eyes. As you spin around on the swing, you can take in the rest of our country property: our grove, our garden, our machine shed, and our house. (Note: the swing above is not our swing, though it is a beautiful picture from Pinterest!)
As most two year olds do, my son loves to swing. He could be pushed for hours and still find delight in the activity. I must confess that sometimes, I view pushing him on the swing as just a motherly duty. Sometimes I just push him back and forth while my brain thinks about the more “important” things I should do with my time. Yep, I’m guilty of this a lot, actually.
But today, I chose something so valuable. It is more valuable than achieving everything on my to-do list. It is worth more than a spotless house. I chose to be present.
If you’re like me, staying present in your life, minute by minute, is a challenge. As moms the weight of our responsibilities often takes precedence over living in the moment. We think about future appointments, suppers we must make, groceries we must buy, and the clothes we left in the dryer. (I hope I’m not the only one who does that!)
But when we choose to be present, when we make living in the moment our first priority, wow, do we experience blessings!
First and foremost, we can only experience God in the present. We can only worship God now. We can’t go back and praise Him. We can’t look to the future and feel His presence. He is with us right now in the moment we are given. If we seek God in the moment, we will find Him. We will experience Him. God promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV).
Secondly, what joy do we miss out on when we allow our brains to leave the present and worry about the future? Ladies, we miss out on so much. Because I chose to be present that perfect fall day, I allowed myself to revel in the beautiful weather. I was able to experience the joy of pushing my son on our swing. I heard the jubilant squeals and delighted laughter from my son as I pushed him “around the world” and “higher, higher” as he insisted. His joy became my joy.
You know what I’ve realized? Joy can only be experienced in the present, when you are present. When we don’t live in the present, we miss out on one main reason why Jesus came. Our joy is stolen. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (ESV). Jesus came to give us joy. He came so that we could have a joyFUL life. When our minds are planning for and worrying about the future, we miss out on this blessing from Jesus.
If you watch your children like I watched mine that day, you’ll notice that they are excellent at living in the present. Because of the innocence of children, they have no reason not to live in the moment. I know we can’t always operate not caring about the future. We have to be adults, after all. But how much more joy could we add to our lives if we purposefully chose to be present in more of the little moments of life?
You know what I think? I think our lives would be so much richer if we hopped on the swing, just like my son, and allowed ourselves to experience the joy in the ride.
Hi, I'm Kristen! Just a girl who loves all things Jesus, family, music and food!
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