Browsing Tag:

living intentionally

Being present in a distraction-filled world

I have always wanted to be one of those carefree, spontaneous people who lives in the moment. The kind of person who adroitly bounds from one adventure to the next. Who is thrilled with change, delighted with surprises, focused solely on the here and now.

 

That will never be me.

 

I have to fight for the here and now.

I have to wrestle with myself to stay grounded in the present.

 

Because introverts have this whole other world inside their heads. We wander up there frequently without anyone noticing and spend hours getting lost in our swirling thoughts and alluring dreams.

 

In my head I have this dream of myself in the future.

I’m sitting on a wooden swing beneath a grand oak tree in my garden. Bluebells and daffodils brim over in my planter boxes. The grass has been freshly mowed and the clippings lay in messy clumps all over the lawn.

We live in this perfect, old villa with rocking chairs on the front porch and hanging baskets swinging from the awning. Our mailbox has a blue roof and our fence is white and picket.

In summer I’m always out in the garden, watering can in hand, tending to my plants. 

In autumn I sit on the porch sipping apple cinnamon-spiced tea and watching the leaves pile up in the front yard. 

 

I can get lost in this daydream and lose all sense of time.


 

See, I have a heart that is spurred on by expectation. It beats a rhythm of longing. Constantly demanding more, never satisfied with what it has.

 

I am forever at war with myself.

 

I must fight for this moment. This one right here. Sitting at my kitchen table in my dressing gown, sipping coffee. I must force myself to meander back down outside of my head and become absorbed fully in appreciating the present.

 

And I’m not the only one.

 

Our modern lives are so cluttered with distractions.

 

Billboards on every corner, notifications from every app, adverts after every second song. Multitasking has become our second nature, we don’t know how to do just the one thing anymore.

 

While eating our breakfast, we are scrolling through our emails. While walking we are listening to podcasts. While having conversations we are having entirely different ones on our phones.

 

But I miss the eye contact. The face to face conversations. The careful, handwritten letters slipped into my mailbox.

 

Everything these days is so instant and hurried. I hardly ever feel seen or understood, nobody has the time.

 

Even when we are in one place, we wish we were in another. We watch the sunset through the lens of our cameras, we live our lives to upload on our Instastories, we’ve made a sport out of collecting memories and flashing them around for everyone else to see. 

 

It feels so fake, so inauthentic, so exhausting to maintain.

 

Putting my phone down feels like a breath of fresh air. Now I hardly post on social media, it feels like I’m coming home, back to the real me. Without the pressure of a billion eyes watching me, I am free to actually live. 

 

being present in a distraction filled world, living intentionally, living in the moment, slowing down, self care, the fear of missing out, social media break, rest,

 

What I need, what we all need really, is a new pace. A slower, more deliberate way of living. An awareness of the buzz, the hustle, the impatience. A return to simpler times which were perhaps not so foolish after all.

 

It saddens me to think that some of the old, slower ways of doing things will soon be lost due to our impatience.

 

I hope my kids get to experience the joy of opening up their mailbox and finding a package waiting for them.

I hope they get the chance to trawl around a hundred different shops looking for the perfect gift rather than sitting at home filling up their online shopping cart.

I hope they will know the feeling of the worn-out pages of a much-loved paperback.

I hope they will take delight in digging up carrots from their own garden rather than reaching for plastic wrapped, pre-washed vegetables in the supermarket.

 

There is something to be said for the ease and convenience of our everyday lives, but still I hope that my children will make time for a little inconvenience.

 

Because I have found that the best conversations happen when we’ve both left our phones in our purses. The most pleasure I’ve taken from a kind note was one written out by hand and delivered to me personally. The best lemon muffin recipe I have ever found was shared with me by a friend of a friend.

 

Being present is recognizing that the here and now moments are what matter the most.

 

It’s fighting the urge to move on to the next thing while you are still doing the first. It’s saying grace before a meal, giving thanks for the one who prepared it. It’s noticing the colours of the leaves as you are walking to work. It’s falling asleep to the gentle hum of crickets outside your bedroom window.

 

Being present is choosing to let go of the past and refusing to be afraid of the future. 

 

So here’s to slowing down, finding moments of solitude in a distraction-filled world and doing our very best to enjoy the here and now.

 

There is not a whole lot in our lives that we have control over but this one thing is ours to protect. We have the choice every day to fall in love with life.

Fighting the fear of missing out

fighting-the-fear-of-missing-out

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be out at the beach just as the sun was setting.

It was one of those lazy summer evenings where you are gathered around the table for hours after you’ve finished eating. Settling into the dusk and drinking in the buoyant conversation.

 

Most days the sunset is blocked by trees, hills and buildings but this particular evening we were out West with nothing but sand stretching before us. Our view was unobstructed and as we chatted away, we noticed the faint whispers of clouds suddenly flecked with sunlight.

 

We quickly raced up the hill to get a better view. But as we pulled the car into the lookout spot, the sun dipped behind clouds. We grumbled and were about to give up on the sunset but we figured we might as well stay just in case something happened.

 

The sun remained encased in clouds for a few more minutes and the coolness of the night seeped over us. But then all of a sudden, the sky was illuminated. Pink, orange, gold. Streams of blazing colour flooded the scene before us. Ocean and sky became one.

A painting streaked and blended with the utmost precision.

 

We got out our pathetic, little phone cameras and tried to capture the perfection. It didn’t seem to matter what angle I stood at or how much I decreased the exposure…the image was a poor representation of the magnificent spectacle we were witnessing.

 

As the final glow of sunlight faded into the night, I felt incredibly grateful and honored to have seen it with my own eyes.

And the overwhelming emotion I felt was relief. How lucky it was that my camera was unable to capture this perfect moment. It meant I couldn’t share it with anyone else, this experience, this brief reverie was all mine.


 

Recently, I’ve felt stretched between too many things, people and places. This need to participate in everything has drained me completely.

 

No matter where I am, I’m missing something else.  

 

If I go to one party, I have to skip another. If I talk to one friend, I don’t get to chat with another. If I say yes to one offer, another one will surely come along.

 

I want to be everywhere. I want to see everyone. I want to do it all.

 

But I can’t… and so I’m forced to make a choice. To prioritize what matters most. To be decisive for once in my life. To commit and stick with it.  And sometimes I don’t like making the choice.

 

Because sometimes duty requires me to be somewhere regardless of what my heart compels me to do. That feels especially unfair. It’s that prickling on the back of the neck I remember feeling every time my mum would ask me to help with chores. But I don’t want to…


 

If I was looking to slap a label on it, I’d say I’m suffering from the fear of missing out.

A fear that tells me that other people are having more fun.

 

I’m inadequate, my time is scarce, my friendships are insufficient. It’s a fear that breeds discontentment. Snuffing out joy and leaving an echo of emptiness. 


 

It seems to me that the cure for the fear of missing out is being fully present.

 

Soaking in the sunset, feeling the rain as it batters down on your umbrella, looking the person who you are talking to directly in the eye.

 

Because our world overlooks these things. It tells us we should always be on the search for something better. We should be selfishly seeking the next adventure and when we find it, we should post all about it.

 

We are trapped by this terrible pitfall of seeking validation and approval. Of needing to be where the party is, needing to participate in the action. Needing to obtain maximum pleasure for our greedy hearts. 

It’s such a hollow way of living. It’s superficial, flaky and unsatisfying.

 

Fighting the fear of missing out is a daily battle.

 

That need to share everything with the world. ‘Hey, look at me, look how great my life is.’  

Fight that urge.  

Be selfish with moments.  

Put down your cell phone and watch the sunset with your own eyes.  

 

It’s a beautiful thing that cameras, lenses and smartphones can’t capture some things. Rainbows, beach sunsets, birthday wishes, falling in love…because that’s the way it should be.

Some things are meant to be experienced.  To be felt rather than just seen.

 

the fear of missing out, fear, faith, self care, being present, life

 

Fighting the fear of missing out means we have to immerse ourselves in the moment. Wherever you are, be all there.

Stop scrolling, sharing and feeling like your situation is lacking. 

 

We can’t be everywhere, but we can be right here. Right now, in this moment.

 

We have to make a choice to be fully present. Because there will always be somewhere flashier you could be. There will always be someone funnier you could be talking to. But chasing those things will only leave you feeling empty.

 

We find contentment when we recognize how precious, beautiful and fleeting the moment we are in really is.

 

Take delight in the intricate, seemingly mundane details…because my friend, this is your life. Don’t blink twice or you’ll miss it.

 

Funnily enough, the fear of missing out is a self fulfilling prophecy. If you’re so afraid of missing out that you try to do it all, see it all and be it all…missing out is exactly what you’ll do.

 

So instead, let’s live intentionally. Wherever we are, let’s be all there. 

There is enough

there is enough. God's grace is sufficient for us, abundance, life in fullness, goodness, grace, mercy, forgiveness

It’s the best time of the day.  

Where stillness and dew on the grass have yet to be broken.  

Where the light is soft and floats in  

This moment, this space, is all mine.  

And I inhale it selfishly.  

 

Because soon the world will wake up.  

The lights will turn on, the cars will rev their engines.  

The tranquility will be broken.  

My worries will weigh down on me.

 

But for now I savour this moment.

This moment gives me room to breathe.

Rest for a weary soul and hope for a heavy heart.

In the stillness I find peace.

In the quiet I find my strength.    


Most mornings I jolt awake as my alarm blares loudly from across the room. I fumble around to find my glasses case and the light switch and then I stumble to my feet. I go through the motions of getting dressed, making breakfast, pouring that absolutely essential cup of coffee and gathering the things I require for the day.

 

It usually feels as though I am scrambling to fit it all in. My head is spinning trying to remember all the dates, appointments and events. Before I have even stepped out the front door, my feet are weary and my soul is drained.

 

I feel like there is never enough. I feel like I am not enough. Like I’m spread too thin. Scraped out like the end of a peanut butter jar. Barely managing to reach the ends.

 

I suppose it’s because scarcity is the mindset running rampant in our modern lives. Time, money, and resources are limited so we have to be the best to secure it all. We have to outsmart everyone else or we will miss out.

 

We need to be smartest to get the promotion. We need to be prettiest to get the guy. We need to be the busiest to prove we can do it all.  

We live in this war against ourselves because we are never enough.

 

This scarcity anguish runs deep in our veins. It’s venom that corrupts all peace, pleasure and purpose. It’s what makes us jealous when we see others succeed because if they get a bigger slice of the pie, it means our piece is smaller.

 

It’s difficult for us to share because we’re so afraid we’ll run out. We only have enough energy to listen to one friend’s struggles. We only have enough time to feed our own family. We only have enough patience to make it to our mailbox in the evening.

 

If we give to this person then another is just gonna have to miss out…that’s how it works. There just isn’t enough. We just aren’t enough.


 

But what if we are wrong?

What if there is another way?

What if we don’t need to try harder or do more… what if there is enough?

 

It seems that so many of us are forgetting the simple truth that Jesus came so that we could have life, and have it in all its fullness.

 

Jesus came so that we could live in abundance…not scarcity.

 

That means that there is enough for you, for me, for your family, your neighbours and every other human being on this planet.

 

Scarcity puts a high price on commodities. Abundance breaks down barriers of inequality.

Scarcity turns us inward. Abundance sends us outward.

Scarcity creates fear and distrust. Abundance produces community and love.

 

When we live from a place of abundance, it changes everything. If we aren’t lacking…we can give everything. We have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

 

When we understand that it is God’s grace alone that enables us to live we are free. It takes the pressure to perform away from us. We no longer need to prove ourselves. We can just be.

 

We are no longer in competition…we are on the same team. We cheer one another on and build each other up. We give and give and give and still we never run out.


 

I don’t want to spend any more of my mornings rushing around with this sense of dread and inadequacy. I want to live in this space of abundance.

Where I can slow down long enough to appreciate the gentle light of the morning. Where I can pause at traffic lights without ranting about how much time I’m wasting. Where I can sit face to face with someone and listen when they are talking to me.  

 

We can rest. We can stop fighting one another. We can share what we have with the assurance that there will always be more.

 

When we wake in the morning we can rise and give thanks because there is enough time in this day and we are already enough.

 

This is amazing grace. This is the fullness of the gospel. This is the good news that we have the privilege of sharing.

 

You and me, our yokes are easy and our burdens are light. We are walking under the wings of grace daily and we know this is the way it is supposed to be. When the world sees us, let them be awestruck by our patience in affliction, our willingness to serve,  and our generosity of spirit.

 

We aren’t like the rest of the crowd hooting out of impatience, shoving to get to the front of the line or taking the last piece of cake greedily for ourselves.

 

We are the fragrance of grace, the essence of abundance. The reminder for this weary world that there is enough.

 

And when we fall short ourselves…we can rest assured that His unfailing grace will be sufficient for us too.