The Gift of Being Fully Present

Our technological world breeds distraction. Our televisions or IPods draw us during dinner, whether at home or in a restaurant.  Our phones interrupt us with calls and texts. There is always a fresh blog to read. If we miss anything, it usually isn’t from lack of trying.

What happens to our relationships? It’s difficult to have in-depth conversations and caring relationships when we are distracted by other things instead of being fully present.

Last night I observed two groups at the restaurant where we were eating dinner. Whereas people at other tables were enjoying both food and conversation, these particular groups rarely looked up from their texting to converse with each other. I wonder what potential connection was lost. It is impossible to have the same meaningful conversations by text as we can in person. Texting is great when we are alone, but how much deep friendship is replaced with surface relationship when we don’t give our full attention to those right in front of us?

Jesus’s focus was on the person before him. In the midst of a very busy day of ministry a suffering woman neared him and dared to touch the hem of his garment, and he stopped everything to talk with her (Luke 8:43-38). He interrupted his plans for the least of these— blind, maimed, and sick people. He lived out the belief that every person is valuable and worth hearing, just as God does when we pray. No one is refused attention; no one is overlooked; distraction isn’t an option because Jesus gives the gift of his total presence, which is a form of love.

Far too often I have failed to turn my full attention to others (usually my husband) because my mind was on my stuff, not their needs or value. Hopefully my observations last night will make me more aware. I want to gift others with my complete presence, knowing that opportunities to initiate meaningful conversations won’t always be available.

What about you?

Kay is a life-long Texan whose favorites are Tex-Mex, books that feed her soul or make her think, good movies and travel to new places. Her great joy is to serve God by teaching the Bible and developing women as servant-leaders. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Ordinary Women Ministries, which provides free videos, podcasts and articles as well as low-cost Bible studies to prepare Christian women for leadership. (beyondordinarywomen.org) Kay spent ten years leading women’s ministries on church staffs, most recently at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. Kay is the author of From Ordinary Woman to Spiritual Leader: Grow your Influence, a practical guide to help Christian women influence others by applying foundational leadership skills to their lives and ministries, and a number of Bible studies for women, some are available at bible.org and the newer ones are found at beyondordinarywomen.org. Kay earned an M.A.C.E. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Effective Ministries to Women. Kay’s family includes a husband, two grown children, one son-in-law, two hysterical granddaughters and a Goldendoodle.

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