Learning to be Present in an Increasingly Noisy World

For each of us, there are unique, everyday distractions that call us away from being here—now: The temptation to linger in the past or to hope for a better future; the alluring eyes of a coworker who appreciates you more than your spouse does. And every time we are lulled away from our lives and distanced from the moment, we lose something of ourselves and our purpose.

And we wonder why the abundant life seems so evasive, so distant. Like something just beyond our reach, it seems to taunt us. And we may eventually despair of ever finding it. In frustration, as a last resort, we may turn to an old but familiar lesson: one of letting go, of looking beyond personal ambition and replacing it with something better, the slow growth that happens when we surrender to what all these delays and setbacks are really trying to teach us.

So it seems the antidote to our restlessness is not necessarily another adventure or experience of a lifetime, but a deep abiding in where we are now.

How does this happen? With waiting. Normal, everyday situations that test our patience and cause us to reflect on what really matters. Personally, I wish there was another way. As the world’s least patient person, I don’t like waiting at all. But I’m beginning to see the value—and inevitability—of the times in between the big moments in life.

Maybe, like me, you’ve spent much of your life longing for the next season. Hoping better things would come when you graduated or got married or gave your life to a career worthy of your talents. But now, you’re not so sure holding out for what’s to come is the smartest strategy.

If that’s you, then I have some good news: you are not alone.

We all want to live meaningful lives full of experiences we can be proud of. We want a story to tell our grandkids that will make them go, “Wow!” That’s a given. And certainly, I’m not telling you to be boring or give up on your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Quite the opposite.

What I am trying to say is this: many of us in search of life’s greatest moments fail to recognize that the best moments are the ones happening right now. The “good stuff” isn’t ahead of or behind us. It’s somewhere in between—right in the midst of this moment, here and now.

This is why many of us fight the quiet and try to fill the void of inactivity with constant busyness. It’s why we sometimes stay up late or can’t sleep. We wonder—and worry—if this is all life has to offer. All the while, we miss the truth: The thing we want to escape is what holds the key to our contentment.

What if, instead of pining for the action of the next frame, we surrendered to the wait, learning to live in those “boring” moments with more intentionality? What if we fell in love with the in-between times, relishing instead of resenting them?

Well, then, we might just learn a few important lessons.

>>Learn more from author Jeff Goins by downloading his thoughts on learning the discipline of being present.

If we reserve our joy only for the experiences of a lifetime, we may miss the life in the experience. Such opportunities are everywhere, waiting for us to see them. But first we must learn to open our eyes, to recognize the gift of waiting.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins was born and raised outside of Chicago. After graduating from Illinois College, he spent a year on the road with a band and was once recognized on the streets of Taipei. An author, speaker, and writing coach, Jeff’s work has been featured on some of the largest blogs in the world. He lives in Franklin, TN with his family. You can find him online at goinswriter.com.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 

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