It keeps coming up. Like a proverbial whisper, it speaks to me from a page of a book, from a snippet of a sermon, from a passing comment from a grocery store clerk. Be present, it says.
Amidst a month that’s often marked by planning, strategizing, resolving, I’ve decided to do none of these things this year. No grandiose goals, no new year’s resolutions, no long-term plans. That's not to say I won't ever look at my calendar or think about the future. But this year, I refuse to be consumed with schedules, to-dos, or even dreams.
As women who lead in our homes, offices, and churches, our lives often revolve around strategic thinking and planning. Most of us are hard-wired to set goals and run hard after them. It feels good to achieve.
When we choose to set aside the yearly calendar, to stop focusing on the future and the steps needed to get there, it requires us to exercise a whole new set of disciplines. It reorients our focus away from the “what ifs” and onto the “what is”. At times it leaves us feeling uneasy too, fearing our carefully crafted aspirations and dreams might die or simply be forgotten.
But there’s something surprising in the giving up, the letting go.
We start to see the present in all of its messy beauty. We stop focusing our attention on building something new and instead look deeply at the needs of those standing right in front of us.
This year, I resolve to gaze at my little boys face, letting his sweet baby smile etch itself deep into my memory before it’s gone, outgrown. I plan to sit quietly on the sofa with my husband, taking in those rare moments of stillness after hustled, hurried days.
I know this season is preparation for the next. Before long, my baby will be talking and walking. My work will get busier again. We’ll add more things back onto the calendar. And if I’m not careful, I’ll miss the lessons I need right now. I won’t be ready for what’s to come.
So instead of dreaming about what’s next and wishing this time away—believing the next stage will be better, easier, more fulfilling, and less sleep-deprived, I want to absorb each moment and lesson one by one. I want to live each day with intention and focus, refusing to run away from the hard things that come.
This year let’s be present to the laughter and pain, the silliness and struggles, allowing them to mark and make us. And let’s leave the future in more capable hands. Will you join me?