Recently, I’ve been so mentally exhausted. I’ve been worried about upcoming assignments and deadlines. I’m constantly jamming my schedule full. So when The House- the campus ministry I’ve been involved with- planned a girl’s retreat this weekend, I immediately signed up. A full seventy-two hours of hanging out with girls and talking about Jesus in Gatlinburg? DUH.
I didn’t really know any of the details, I just knew I wanted to go.
The girls I rode with arrived a little bit later than most people, just because there was no set schedule for Friday night. Everyone just got there whenever they could. When I first got there, I was SO overwhelmed. There were seventy girls staying in one cabin. Yup, seventy. And I’d probably only had a conversation with ten of them; fifteen at the most. When we walked in, I knocked someone’s water cup over with my bag. Good job, Kelsie. Obviously, I was kind of embarrassed and felt like a moron (only kind of kidding). But immediately a girl that I’d never met before got down on her hands and knees and started wiping it up for me. No big deal, she told me.
I knew this weekend was going to be a good one.
Our theme was being present and learning to live in the moment, something I didn’t realize I struggled with, but I now am very aware that I do struggle with this.
One point that was made in one of the lessons that I quickly scribbled down was “When you’re not awake in the present, you’re going to the past, future, or you’re worried about other people are thinking about you.”
Dang, I thought. I do this all the time. I’m constantly worrying about what’s upcoming. I think about things that happened forever ago that I have no way of changing. Or I worry about what someone thinks about me because I accidentally knocked over a drink. I’m constantly zoning out and taking my mind to different places instead of just soaking up the moment that I’m in.
What a waste of time, thought, and energy. I’ll never get this moment back; I’ll never get this day back.
Instead of constantly worrying about the past and the future realize that God is with you right now in this very moment!
He’s with you whether you’re happy, sad, mourning, or rejoicing.
He was with you yesterday, an hour ago, and right when you began reading this; and he’ll be with you tomorrow.
Instead of worrying about things that are coming up in the future, focus on what you can be doing in the present to prepare yourself. Instead of worrying about a test, start studying for it right now. Instead of worrying about future relationships, better yourself so you’re ready for the perfect person when they come along. Instead of worrying about what major you’re going to graduate with, focus on getting good grades in the classes you’re currently in.
HOW TO REMEMBER GOD’S PRESENCE:
1. Put reminders up.
2. Find one second every minute to just say “hey God.”
3. Use “we” instead of “me”. Yeah, me and God are gonna go study.
4. Pray in the morning before you even get out of bed.
5. Put up your phone (!!!!)
6. Give yourself Grace.
So, this week I challenge you to try these things and to live in the moment. Don’t worry about what’s already happened and don’t think what about is going to happen. Be awake in the moment and take everything in as it comes.
One of my favorite quotes is from Harry Potter from Hagrid. He says, “what’s coming will come and we’ll meet it when it does.”
One of the interns this weekend read The Summer Day by Mary Oliver and I think it sums everything up perfectly.
"Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down, into the grass, how to kneel into the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"