Practically Present in Every Way

I struggle to be present.

I show up. I've taken very few sick days in the last decade. I didn't miss very much school. I come home when I'm expected.

But I check my email all the time. And Twitter and Facebook. I'm always reading: books, news, blogs. My mind is always running.

I'm finding myself more and more distracted lately. Distracted more easily.

It's possible to be present in the body, but no where else.

Many people are present in the body, but not in the emotions. They are cold and distant. They are uninvolved. They aren't moved. They don't seem to care.

Somedays, "they" are me.

Many people are present in the body, but not in the heart. They want to be somewhere else. They are looking at the green grass on the other side of the fence. They show up but don't really show up.

Somedays, "they" are me.

Many people are present in the body, but not in the mind. Their attention is elsewhere. They skip and skim along on the surface of life. They communicate your insignificance by through their inattention. They are checked out.

Somedays, "they" are me.

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In this season, I find myself thinking a lot about the Incarnation. God himself becomes present to us in Jesus. Not just present, but fully present.

Jesus never appears distracted. His mind never appears elsewhere. His heart is fully there. His emotions are deeply engaged.

I so deeply would love to be like this.

Can you imagine what would have happened if Jesus was only partially present? If his emotions weren't present, we'd wonder whether or not he was fully human. If his mind wasn't present, we'd wonder if we mattered to him. If his heart wasn't present, how would he have endured the suffering of life, death and the grave?

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Even as we worship a fully present God, we remain practically present people.

Checking out in emotion, heart and mind is a mechanism that we've developed to survive a world that makes vigorous demands on us. Checking out channels a vein of selfishness and arrogance and protectiveness.

How do we become more present?

I wish I knew.

2 comments:

  1. I read this. Just letting you know that someone is reading. I read the others, but sometimes being present means participating in the conversation, so here is my participation.

    I've been thinking through something you said here for the last few weeks. I have often heard it said, "Technology isn't the problem, it's our use of technology." After all, Facebook, twitter, et. al. are all just "tools in our toolbox" for communicating, interacting, and "living on mission." But, what if that's wrong. What if technology is the problem, and I keep making excuses because I like it, and want to keep using it.

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  2. That's a really solid question (ironically delivered via technology).

    I wonder if the whole technology question isn't a bit backward. We often focus on the vistas technology opens to us: we can talk with people who are far from us, we can stay in touch with old friends, that kind of thing. But what if technology limits us?

    Technology ... especially social media ... limits our attention, presses our bandwidth. It makes it more difficult for us to be fully present everywhere we want to be.

    In a way, it reminds me of the Incarnation. God accepted the technology of the human body, and the limits that come with it. Limited, but still fully present.

    In a way, the anti-technology language begins to mirror the Gnostic language that has cropped up off and on throughout church history.

    Not really an answer there ... but I wonder if it cracks a door to a path forward.

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