Present Moment, Only Moment.

Being a present-moment kind of girl has never been one of my strengths.

On the positive side of things, I’m an ambitious, achievement-focused kind of person.

On the negative, I worry a lot about things that don’t need to clog up today.

Sometimes this means you’ll catch see me gazing out the window on car drives, ignoring my car mates, miles away from where I’m actually at — stewing on what should happen in the next three years.

Other times, that means sitting at Andy’s dining room table in beautiful Oregon, worrying about what next Tuesday will be like when I’m back home in Atlanta.

Both are unnecessary.

Am I right?!

Today is point A and I’m always battling the desire to know about point C. What about what’s after the next thing?

I’ll be honest though; while it’s helped me accomplish a lot, that phrase about “depressed people are living in the past and anxious people living in the future?” I’ve had my fair dealings with anxiety.

A great accomplishment over the past two years has been that — I’ve let a lot go. I’ve found balance in being in the moment and anticipating what comes next.

And a lot of that came from realizing how little control you can have in life. Realizing that sometimes the best things are unplanned.

For me that’s meant finding a new everyday life rhythm.

I’m content in my job and while I want to grow and move up the chain; my todays are focused on doing my tasks better than yesterday; learning something new every opportunity and finding ways to set myself apart.

In my personal life I’ve found a lot of peace in strengthening my faith. i don’t control the overall tide of life myself; but I can trust in the one who does. And I can have good faith that if I’m focused on today; tomorrow is going to come together.

How many times have I written about this? A lot.

The reason I write about it today is because one of the best ways to STOP worrying about the future is to acknowledge your worry. Realize that it’s pointless. Find the motivation of what’s REALLY getting to you. Make a plan, if you can, for how to absolve that. And then redirect your focus positively in the moment. 

And sometimes writing about it is the best way.

Being in a long-distance relationship has affected my ability to not worry about the future in polar opposite ways.

When Andy and I are together, it’s almost paralyzing how much I want to worry about fixing this long-distance 3,000 mile issue immediately. Then in other ways, it’s so much more complicated than a quick fix — that I realize i only need to focus on the way his hair smells. What his shirt feels like when I hug him. How nice it is to go to the store together. The crunch of his steps next to mine when we take a hike. How the intonation of his voice changes at different times of day. Or how when he gets really sleepy he starts twitching. Those are nice things people who see each other everyday appreciate also; but for us when we’re together–they’re intensely meaningful.

This time last year when I visited Seattle for the first time and Andy and I were embarking on our first stint apart; I experienced for the first time “present worry.” I was in the moment — experiencing Seattle and precious time with him. But I was worrying about when the present would end. Worrying about having to get on a plane and say “see you later.”

We had brought burritos up to his favorite park in Queen Anne to look out at the Space Needle and under the bench we shared was a simple plaque that said:

“Present Moment, Only Moment.”

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Maybe to you, it’s kind of a “duh.”

But in THAT moment. I thought “I’m such an idiot. I need to just look around. I need to just give him a hug. I need to just be here.”

Ever since Andy and I saw that plaque it’s been a way of living when we have these stolen days together.

It’s a mantra when I get sad thinking about missing him–and he’s sitting next to me. It’s a meditation when I’m tempted to daydream about the “what ifs.”

As a result of HAVING to stay in the moment I’ve come up with my own list of ways to control yourself when you get all worked up about controlling life:

  • Take in the five senses of right this second. What do I smell? How does that fabric feel? Have I ever seen the light fall like that? Isolate the sounds floating through the room.
  • Keep my phone tucked away as much as possible.
  • Abolish a schedule and instead focus on overall task priorities for the day.
  • Actively acknowledge a desire to think about the future or worry // and deny it. “No, we’re right here right now.”
  • Start your day with a prayer. Give away those worries at the start so that your day can stay clean. (This is my favorite.)
  • Create conversations. Mull over the best questions. Put your heart into it.
  • Distract yourself with something new happening TODAY. See something for the first time. Find a new route to take. Try a fresh recipe. Stop by that bar that always catches your eye.
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Sunday Devotion: God isn’t as Surprised as You.

Do you ever get déjà-vu?

Sometimes I’ll get it in the sense of “Hmmm. . . this feels weird. This seems familiar.” And it might be something someone says or does; maybe it’s a smell. But all of a sudden my senses feel like they’re standing on end and I can’t help but kind of raise my eyebrows and usually say out loud “Weird, I feel like I’ve seen this before.”

That’s the conservative kind. The kind that articles suggest are just our brain, mixing up the memory messages and thinking you’ve seen or been somewhere before–but it’s really just a brain blip.

But then there’s another kind déjà-vu that I’ve had in the past where you dream something; usually a conversation, or progression of events, and then it actually comes to pass. And in that moment you’re overwhelmed with not just a “hmm, this weird.” it’s a much louder “Whoa, if I had only knew that I already knew.”

Call it whatever you want, it happens sometimes and you just have to take it for it is.

When those moments happen though I’m jolted back to this laurel of thought that, God knew this was going to happen. This was part of the plan. God knew that today you would still be working at the same office. God knew that you would make that new friend this weekend. God knew that you would be taking a trip this month. God knew that you were going to make a financial gain soon. God knows.

Do I think that God knew I was going to have tacos for lunch?

I’m not going that far.

But I know that God has a plan for my life and in a moment where I feel like I have pre-experienced a moment–I know that moment was already planned for me.

For God’s own timing to work, it’s going to be going along God’s own plan.

In the past few days I’ve had a handful of moments where I felt like unexpected situations were happening that were messing up the plan. Things were going a little awry.

But then a split second of déjà-vu and I realize: God’s in this moment. God saw this coming. Of course it’s not in my control; it’s in His control. And you know what?

God knows when it’s going to be resolved, too.

I haven’t been writing for the last month about my plan. Why am I acting like God is probably surprised right now too?

God knew. Makes me want to say, duh.

Oye, you might think I’m going down a predestination tangent–but hang in there with me.

Our God is all knowing.

I believe you have pivotal moments that can be path changing. I believe you have opportunities to re-calibrate and adjust if you get off track. I believe that God has an original will for what He hoped for us the day that we were born.

And because of that, I believe He knows.

Psalm 147:5 says:

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.”

Sometimes if you get so entrenched in a moment that you didn’t see coming, you can forget and ask how the heck it came to pass. You can feel like things are off track. You can feel like this must have taken God by as much surprise as it did you. But if you take a minute to step back and remember that not only is God in that very moment, He’s already anticipating the ones to come tomorrow and next week–you don’t have to carry that need to control it. You don’t have to carry that desire to fix it or change it. Especially if it’s really outside of your power anyway.

You can feel helpless.

Or you can stop in that second and thank God for being in control.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said that in the past week. “Thank you, Jesus for being in control of my life.”

Dang, I can’t do it. I’m about to lose my mind for trying if I kept carrying that burden.

God has a plan over your life and even when you feel like you have hit a bump, found a snag or have had your world flipped around–it’s OK. Trust Him. Maybe this is a test to see your dedication to the desires in your heart. Maybe this is to bring you closer to Him. Where is your trust at? Were you paying attention? All those things you’ve said while things were going smoothly about trusting and following–did you mean them?

Because at the end of the day anything you’re working towards: a new city, that other job, the family, the raise, the new business, the important client or the big trip—that might be part of God’s plan—but you know what, to be happy in the plan you first have to be happy in God. And I can promise you that you’ll get there a lot faster if you join me in the learning that when times feel tough; drop the stress and say “Thank you, God for being in control.”

Déjà-vu or not. Real or not. In the plan or not. God knows. Give it time, child—and in the meantime, lift it up and be so thankful that you have such an awesome God behind the scenes working things out on your behalf.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11