Originally Posted February 12, 2015 ; modified Feb 14, 2018
It was the 2nd Sunday of Advent in 2003, and I was sitting in the back row of the sanctuary at North Cincinnati Community Church, my home church. On my left was my girlfriend at the time, who had flown from her home on the East Coast to visit me for the weekend.
During the offeratory song, I remember leaning forward a little, my eyes fixed on the ground, poised to drop my envelope in the collection basket. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and I leaned back in my chair to look over at my girlfriend.
With a warm smile on her face, she looked deep into my eyes and said, “Darrel…live in the moment”.
What happened next I will never forget as long as I live. I began to look around, and God opened my eyes to what was really happening in that moment:
- The family of God was gathered “full house” to worship the Lord together
- It was Christmastime, a trumpeter was blaring a triumphant hymn from the stage
- Through a giant picture window, I saw hundreds of large snowflakes falling gently to the ground
- And the woman that had captured my heart was sitting right next to me, caring for me
Just moments before, I was missing it all.
How many times, at work or at home, do we get caught up completing the tasks at hand just so we can “check the box” and move on to what comes next? When we do, we begin to act more like human “doings” than the human”beings” God created us to be. Of this, I am too often “guilty as charged”.
So how then do we learn to be more consistently “live in the moment”, and therefore experience the blessings God has for us? Since that day, here are two daily practices I’ve tried to embrace:
Do Not Worry
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says “therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” How many times does worry (i.e. how clean the house needs to be for guests, am I ready for the big presentation for my client tomorrow) rob us of those special moments we could instead be having with family and friends?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the apostle Paul encourages us to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” What would life be like if we were truly thankful for the people, the provisions, and the situations God places in us? They are all meant for our good.
You may be asking “Whatever happened to the girl?” At that moment, I knew she was the one God had chosen for me. Three days later, I bought her a ring, and we were engaged shortly thereafter. This past January, my wife Karen and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. And yes, she still often reminds me of the joys that come when we are willing to stop and “live in the moment.”