Convictions

conviction

Other than its for its legal definition, the word “conviction” is seldom used in daily conversation.  I am referring to this definition of conviction: “a firmly held opinion or belief”. 

We all have convictions of some sort.  Some are sound, some frivolous.  I am convinced the Mets will win the World Series or It is my strong conviction that the President’s policy is wrong.  It is good to have convictions, we need them to help us navigate the multitude of decisions we face each day.  For example, I am convinced that the recently fashionable “man bun” is not very appealing.  Thus my mornings are made infinitely easier by that conviction, since I have removed the man bun as a choice when deciding what to do with my hair each morning.

Although essential to our lives, convictions can also be detrimental if held despite refuting evidence.  For example, during World War I, two generals had charge of the massive British Army fighting on the Western Front in the trenches protecting France. Both Field Marshals John French and Field Marshal Douglas Haig held strong convictions that cavalry charges (officers on horses with swords and lances) would win a decisive break-through and thus win the war.  They both held this conviction despite clear evidence to the contrary: new technology had changed the shape of warfare.  The machine gun in a reinforced, concrete bunker was decisive.  Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives because these two generals would not compromise their conviction in the cavalry charge.

As Christians, we are called to possess strong convictions.  We need to hold on to what we believe is true.  Our faith must be assured.  This is achieved through growth, sanctification, and experience.  Three Biblical characters stand out as men who had strong convictions, even in the face of death.

The Book of Daniel mentions three companions in exile with Daniel: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  The Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar commanded all people to bow down and worship a giant golden statue he had erected in his own conceit.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused.  They would only worship the One True God.  As the guards stood by to throw these three men into the fiery furnace, their convictions remained strong and they defied the King and replied:

O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, our god whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.   Daniel 3:17-18

This is conviction.  In the face of certain torture and death these three men remained true to their belief in God.  They were convinced that it was better to face death than to compromise their standards.  How did they do it?  How did these young men in a foreign land have the courage and conviction to stand against a powerful earthly king?  I believe that there are three primary factors that built their convictions and that can build ours as well.

Training.  We are called to learn God’s ways.  We need to understand and hide his Word in our hearts.  We need to practice faith each day in all sorts of challenging situations.  By understanding who God is and how He has cared for and protected His people, we will begin to develop our own convictions.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

Other believers.  We need other people to help us grow our convictions, and point out when we are not seeing things correctly.  We need them to stand alongside us during the challenging situations of life, so that our faith and trust grow stronger.

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12

The Holy Spirit.  God will give us power and strength to stand according to our convictions.  The spiritual will guide our thoughts and convict us to do what is right.  God has promised to walk beside us even in the worst situations of our lives.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;  when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.  Isaiah 43: 3-4

As Christians we need to live by strong convictions.  Our convictions will guide our every decision.  When the storm and opposition come, we need to be ready to stand firm, despite the pain that might result, because we are convinced that our God is able to deliver us.

What do you think?  How can you strengthen your convictions in light of the chaos and opposition that is building around us?  How can Christians stand together in a world that is getting darker each day?  

Celebrate!

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Frequently I get caught up in the mundane aspects of life: waking early, going off to a 9-5 job, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, … rinse, repeat. I lose track of the important aspects of life and my purpose. I become too concerned with the temporal aspects of life and things of the world. I forget my greater purpose. I neglect to enjoy life and the blessings that God has granted me, and all of us.

Why do I do this? Why do I strive for things of this world when I know that they are passing away? Why do I too often hang my head low in exhaustion or disappointment?

Is the Christian life primarily a set of rules, “do-s and don’t-s” followed by shame and judgment and self-flagellation?  Is that the way God intended the Christian life to be? I think not!

In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus presents three parables: the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. In each parable, something is lost (a sheep, a coin, and a son) and then later found.

One sheep out of a flock of one hundred is lost.  The shepherd searches diligently to find the one lost sheep.  One of ten silver coins is lost, and the possessor searches diligently until she finds her missing silver coin.  A son denies his family and runs off to a wayward lifestyle.  After having squandered his inheritance, he returns penniless and with little hope, yet his father runs to greet and embrace his son.

All three parables conclude with celebration.

He calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’            Luke 15:6

She calls together her friends and neighbors, saying ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’        Luke 15:9

let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate.        Luke 15:23b-24

In these three parables, Jesus repeats the same point for emphasis. There is great rejoicing in the Kingdom of God.  It is a good thing that an individual returns to the Father.  Christians should primarily be about the business of seeking out the lost and restoring them to the Father.  This is our purpose and when achieved, a cause for celebration!

The Christian life is about celebration! Celebrate that lost people can be found.  Celebrate that the Father runs with open arms to a child who was lost and now returns home. Celebrate the immense blessings we enjoy!

This celebration is not a just once in a lifetime event but a daily celebration. Each day we must return to the Father and feel His warm embrace. Each day is a gift and we must celebrate it!

The very simple childhood hymn expresses what our attitude as Christians should be each day:

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.   Psalm 118:24

Rejoice and celebrate today!  It is our inheritance as Christians!

What do you think? What can you do today to celebrate as part of God’s Kingdom? Who needs to hear this message of hope – that God is waiting with open arms to welcome you home?

Dignity

dignity

 

The city in which I call home has a visible number of people who do not reside in regular residences (i.e. “homeless”). Also, at nearly every major intersection, there is someone with a cardboard sign asking for handouts (aka “panhandlers”).   These people are seen on a regular basis, especially during the fine summer weather that our city enjoys.

The other day while driving around town, I thought about the plight and the heart of these people. What cascade of bad circumstances and bad choices would cause someone to stand at a street intersection with a cardboard sign to beg for handouts? I am certain that in most cases there are numerous factors, and I am not so naïve to think the solution for these people is a simple one.

I believe that most of these people share a common reason for being homeless and/or begging at the street corners – a loss of dignity.

Dignity may be defined as “the state or quality of being worthy of honor and respect”. The concept of dignity is closely related to reverence (the feeling of awe, respect, and shame when these are the right feelings to have), which I previously wrote about.

Where do we get dignity? Is it a trait that is inherent or learned or acquired or granted?

I believe that we are each granted dignity and worth because of how God created us and because of what Christ bestowed upon us at the Cross. 

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.        I Peter 2:19

God has placed a special worthiness in all people. We are created in His image, with His stamp of approval. A baby is born with the radiance of God upon his or her countenance. It is easy to see the worthiness in a small child.

How did worthiness disappear in these adults who now must beg and sleep on a concrete sidewalk in the downtown center of our city? In a word: sin.  Sin attacks and destroys the inherent worthiness that God created in us as humans. We all have it. We all see the effects of sin: decay, pain, and death.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.               Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

However, through Christ our relationship with God is restored.  We are given new life.  We are elevated to a status of son and heir: God’s special possession!

We are granted dignity and worth because of the dignity and worth that is found in Jesus Christ.

Our role as followers of Christ is to grab hold of the dignity that is ours and treat others with that dignity.  We are called to point others towards Christ. We are to proclaim His message of hope and healing.

Our role is to restore dignity to the lost people of our city. It is to share the message of Christ’s reconciliation and to restore dignity and a sense of worth in each individual.  To is to provide God’s vision to men and women who have lost vision, a sense of purpose, and a sense of worthiness in their lives.

What do you think? Can dignity be restored to our land? Is a loss of dignity a primary cause for someone to be without a home and compelled to beg for employment?

Words have power

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A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.  Proverbs 25:11

We all have a great power.  That power is the spoken word.  We can speak life into one another or we can break each other down through the words we speak.

When God created the universe and all things in it, He spoke and it was so (that is power!).  He made humans and created man and woman in His image.  This is unique.  No other created thing was made with this distinction  – “in God’s image.”

What aspect of God’s image did we get?  There are many, but an important characteristic that we possess is the ability to speak.  We have words and the ability to communicate.  Our words have power.

One of the responsibility of the first man, Adam, was to name all the creatures in the garden.  God brought them to Adam so that he could speak a name into them, to give each animal an identity.

Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.  And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.  Genesis 2:19

Adam gave each animal an identity when he gave them a name.  Later, when God created a second human, Adam gave her a name as well.  His words gave identity.

This power is still available to us today.  We can use words to speak life into others, to build up, to ask forgiveness, to reconcile, to praise and affirm.  Or, we can use our words to break down, hurt, and chastise our children, our wife, our friends and neighbors.

A few kind words can make the difference in someone’s life today.  A word fitly spoken can breath life into someone who needs to be affirmed and encouraged.  We all need to be affirmed on a daily basis.  Each of us is worthy of kind words and affirmation, because we are all made in the image of God.  That image is good.  God did a good thing when he made man and woman.  We must remember that.  We must use our words to lift up and not bring down.

What can you do today to speak words of life into another?  Who can you call?  Who needs a word of encouragement?  Go ahead and do it.  Speak life into another today!

Reverence: the lost virtue

reverence

Over the next few months I will be studying and writing about the concept of virtue.  What virtues are common to man?  Which ones were prevalent in ancient societies?  These are important since ancient societies, such as Greek and Roman, are foundational to the Western society we now live in.  I will further look at how the concept of virtue influenced the founding fathers of the United States.  What did they think about virtue and how did their concept of virtue influence the documents and processes that shaped the forming of America?  I want to also look at how virtue is viewed in modern society, here in the 21st Century.

In my research on virtue, I stumbled across a short little book by Paul Woodruff, Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue (Oxford University Press, 2001).  Thus far this has been a great read.  Most of us negatively associate “reverence” with the practice of religion or spirituality, yet Woodruff astutely expands on this concept.  He categorizes reverence with other noble concepts, such as Truth, Justice, or Courage.  Woodruff proposes that “reverence is the well-developed capacity to have the feeling of awe, respect and shame when these are the right feelings to have”.

Reverence is not as simple as showing respect for God or a Supreme Being, but rather it is a bigger and essential part of the human existence.  Reverence grasps the concept that not everything is known about our world, that there is an order to our world, and that there some things that are bigger than the average, everyday life of the individual.  When one demonstrates reverence, they are awed by the majestic Colorado Rockies, or a sunset over the Santa Barbara coast, or the smile of a new-born baby.

Woodruff claims that modern American society has forgotten what reverence means.  I agree wholeheartedly.  He further explains, “reverence fosters leadership and education … reverence kindles warmth in friendship and family life .  without reverence, things fall apart.  People do not know how to respect each other and themselves.  An army cannot tell the difference between what it is and a gang of bandits.  Without reverence, we cannot explain why we should treat the natural world with respect … To teach reverence, you must find the seeds of reverence in each person and help them grow.”

When we acknowledge a higher power in the world, then we begin to embrace reverence.  When we care for our neighbor as we would care for ourselves, we demonstrate reverence.  Reverence is the starting point to realizing that each human life is endowed with worthy characteristics.  Each life matters.  Reverence is realizing that we part of a 7.5-billion-person family.  We are all traveling this world on the same bus and we really can’t get off the bus alive.  Thus we must care for each other and the bus too (our planet earth).

Woodruff perceptively observes and warns: “

Reverence runs across religions and even outside them through the fabric of any community, however secular… If you desire peace in the world, do not pray that everyone share your beliefs.  Pray instead that all may be reverent.

Reverence is a virtue that in past ages was considered immensely important but has lost its place in modern America.  However, I believe that reverence is something we should not lose, and rather by fostering it in ourselves, in our children, and in our sphere of influence, we can establish a better world.

What do you think?  Is reverence dead in America?  What can you do to instill a sense of reverence in your world?

Am I my brother’s keeper?

pueblaI recently heard an account of two brothers who lived together in a cabin on a ranch, miles from the nearest town, Laramie, Wyoming.  Now this was during the early 1900s, when Wyoming was barely a state and still very primitive and remote.  The two brothers lived a very  basic life, far from other people and had none of the available conveniences, such as electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, telephone, or a motor car.

The brothers did have books, and read profusely.  As a result, they could carry on an in-depth discussion on a wide variety of topics, despite their relative isolation from the outside world and current events.

Now I am a great supporter of minimalism – of living a simple life, free from the over-consumption of modern consumer goods.  In this regard, the two Wyoming brothers had it right.  They lived a very minimalistic lifestyle.  However, I am also concerned about taking minimalism too far – so far, that one eludes interactions with other people, for example, living in a remote cabin with rare human interactions and no opportunity to develop relationships.  Our relationships with others and the impact we have on society is extremely important, and I would argue as foundational for human existence.

How can a person interact and contribute to society if he is isolated from others?

Humans are social animals.  We need each other.  It is the way God made us, and He commands us to love our neighbors – which requires interaction to do so.

I am reminded of an Old Testament passage, found in the law as recorded by Moses.  In it lies a great principle for everyday life with respect to our brothers, neighbors, and even our enemies.

You shall not see your brother’s ox or sheep going astray and ignore them.  You shall take them back to your brother.  And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it.  Then you shall restore it to him.  Deuteronomy 22:1-2 (ESV)

This is a powerful illustration, and its message is repeated by Jesus when he gives us the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  In the parable, a non-Jew assists a Jew who was beaten and left for dead along a remote road.

We are to care for our brothers and their property.  In extension, we are to care for our neighbors, our community, and even our enemies.

How do we do so?

By caring.  By caring for the well-being of others.  By letting go of the concepts of competition and ego.  By realizing that our life has purpose in this world.  That we belong to a greater community.  By seeing the world from another’s perspective.

This can not be done by living in isolation.  Shall we quaintly order our private worlds so tightly that there is no room for other’s in our life?  The American concept of independence and self-sufficiency is counter-intuitive to a lifestyle of caring for the needs of those around us.

The early pioneer’s dream was to live a quiet, peaceful life on a ranch or farm that could provide for his and his family’s needs.  They would be free from the negative effects of an urban lifestyle and government oversight.

Minimalism is a process of freeing oneself from the material cares of the world, to make time for the more important matters - relationships and people and fulfillment.

I am my brother’s keeper!

What do you think?  Can we live a simple life of isolation and minding our own business and still contribute to society and the well-being of others?

 

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Don’t be a rider through life

Photo courtesy of Pamela Logan

Photo courtesy of Pamela Logan

Life while serving on a submarine was very busy.  There was always more than enough to do to occupy one’s time:  training, exams, qualifications, cleaning, repairs, maintenance, and standing watch for hours upon hours.  Any free moment was spent eating, sleeping or washing.

Once during my duty as a submariner, I was assigned to a different submarine for only a few days, and my task was to get from one port to another (transit).  “Rider” is the term we used to describe such people.  They rode the submarine, taking up space, breathing the air, eating meals, creating waste products, but they did not have any responsibilities nor a contribution within the submarine crew.

I do not want to be a rider in life, just moving along planet earth taking up space but not contributing.

However, to do so, one has to have a sense of purpose, a meaning for being here.  A sense of purpose is derived from one’s beliefs and values.  If I believe that my life is special that I was created by a Supreme Being, then it is much easier to identify my purpose.

Someone else’s paradigm may not allow for God, religion, or a Supreme Being.  Main stream science theorizes that the earth and life on it is just the result of 14.7 billion years of random interactions of matter and energy.  If I believe this, that life as we know it resulted from evolution and survival of the fittest, then my purpose is easy to identify: survive and reproduce.

Recently I re-read a book by coach and career counselor Richard Leider titled, The power of purpose: Creating meaning in your life and work.  The author asserts that identifying one’s purpose is an important endeavor and one that is frequently re-addressed throughout an individual’s life.  Each of us cycle through seasons of life and periodically seek answers to the question “why am I here?”.  Further, major life events or crisis will also cause us to pause and ponder our purpose and what truly matters in life.

Purpose means using our gifts on what deeply moves us.  Occupying ourselves and our time with people, commitments, and challenges that help us feel worthwhile.  – Richard Leider

We all have an innate desire to find purpose in our lives – to have challenges that energize us – to have relationships that bring meaning to our short existence.

Sometimes we adopt motion and busyness as a substitute to identifying an overarching purpose.  We fill our days with many things: work, meetings, sports, social activities, television and the internet but they don’t bring much satisfaction.  This is similar to my submarine rider experience.  The 3 days that I spent riding a submarine drove me crazy – I needed something to do!

Busyness is a nervous way of living because we continuously seek approval from outside ourselves and then end up confused: “what am I trying to do with my life? –Richard Leider

I do not want to be nervous and anxious throughout my life.  I want peace and tranquility that is derived from purpose and meaning.  This is where minimalism has helped me.  I endeavor to be deliberate about where I invest my time, energy, and resources.  It forces me to ask the questions: “Is this (item/obligation/activity) consistent with my purpose?”

“Does it truly matter?”

Minimalism helps me to be intentional.  Identifying my purpose in life is the starting point.  With a purpose, I have a standard by which to judge my decisions.  I can eliminate that which is not consistent with my purpose.

Our concept of the world is an important starting point to identifying our purpose.  By understanding my position in this great big world, a child of God, redeemed by His Son Jesus Christ, my life has purpose and meaning.  There is a destination.  I am part of a very, very grand scheme.

With this knowledge, I do not have to seek affirmation from outside me or in the busyness of life.  I can be content in the here and now.  I am NOT just along for the ride on a random science experiment we call earth.  I have a guiding light – it points me in the direction that I should travel.

I am part of a bigger plan.  I am an important part of that plan.

We all are part of a big plan.

How will you choose to live?  What is your purpose?  What is your guiding light?

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Overcome by hope

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Wealth is very fickle.  Some people are able to accumulate massive wealth, while others live a very scarce life.  Some have financial wealth, while others have wealth in other forms.

  • A wealth of talent
  • A wealth of children
  • A wealth of beauty
  • A wealth of good health
  • A wealth of words

Identifying wealth is very dependent upon your perspective.

A few months ago, a fellow blogger described his mission trip to Africa with Compassion International.  Although I have never been to Africa, I have seen first hand the very austere living conditions in Southeast Asia during my time in the Navy, and it is heartbreaking.

In his blog, Goins, Writer, Jeff describes in great detail his visit to Africa – the immense poverty, sickness, and simple living conditions.  He pondered the question – What can be done?

This is a valid point.  What can we do in our luxurious society of North America?  Can we alleviate the poverty throughout the world?  Would sending our excess cash actually make a sustainable difference?

Jeff responded to this question with an astute statement:

Poverty isn’t defeated with wealth.  It’s overcome by HOPE. – Jeff Goins

Hope. 

Hope is looking beyond our current circumstances to a better day ahead.

Hope is what drove our fore-fathers to leave the bad circumstances of 18th and 19th Century Europe and journey to America in search of a better land and opportunity for themselves and their progeny.

Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning – the prospects and opportunity of a new day.

Hope is within an African parent who saves every penny to send one of her children to school ten miles away.

Hope is capturing a vision of tomorrow, despite the bleakness of today.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Hope is taking a risk on a new relationship because we sense this is the right thing to do.

People and relationships are essential to our future.

Where does your hope rest today?  How can you encourage hope in yourself and others? Can you be more generous with your wealth in relationships and the people in your sphere of influence?

Do you have any of these wealth items?

  • Good health
  • Happiness
  • Material goods
  • Financial resources
  • Ideas and energy

Go share them!

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Turn on the light

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I am not a big fan of Oprah Winfrey, but I recently ran across a quote of her that I can thoroughly endorse.

You have to find what sparks a light in you so you can illuminate the world.  – Oprah Winfrey

Not all of us are destined to influence the world as Oprah has, but we each have our own small piece of the world – our home, our family, our neighborhood, our friends, our community, our work place – where we can shine our light and make a positive influence.

We each have a natural audience through the people in our lives on whom we can shine our little light. 

We each have unique gifts, desires, and talents.  These were implanted in us when we were created by the Father.  Part of our mission here on earth is to find the light inside us, nurture it, fuel it, and then illuminate our world.  This is why parents are here – to help our children find and trim their own lights.

We each have the ability to create beauty.  It starts with our passions.  Some might be considered mundane by the world’s standards, but each is important.

It might be:

  • Baking delicious cakes
  • Growing beautiful flowers
  • Building comprehensive spreadsheets
  • Listening diligently while sharing coffee with a new friend
  • Writing essays that stir readers to think
  • Lifting our voices in inspiring song
  • Praising a child’s crayon drawn masterpiece

The next quote is an encouragement from the Apostle Paul.  However, a modern interpretation of his sentiment might sound: “be all that you can be”.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not men.  For you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Galatians 3:23-24 (NIV)

Go shine your light.  Work with enthusiasm that which you enjoy and do well.  If you can’t identify your own light, ask your friends and family what they think you do best.  That is the starting point of your light.

What is it you like doing?  What brings you joy?  That is probably something very close to where you are gifted.

Do it more.  Discuss it with someone else.  Bring them along.  What you do to shine your light doesn’t have to be earth shattering.  We each have value.  It is how we contribute to our surroundings. 

We all need to contribute our best during our short time on this planet.

A smile will make a difference.  Try it.  Next time you are in a grocery store smile – a big, authentic smile and make eye contact.  It will change your attitude and may contribute a change in the other person as well.

Your light matters.  The world needs you to make it a brighter place.

What can you do today to shine the light of your gifts and talents?

 

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Anticipation

Photo courtesy of Pamela Logan

Photo courtesy of Pamela Logan

Today I sat down to lunch, ate my food, and then I realized it was over.  I blew through lunch so fast I didn’t even realize it!  While I was eating my very nutritious salad, my thoughts were centered on the things I had to accomplish next.

I was looking forward, which isn’t a bad thing of itself; but it kept me from fully enjoying the present – my lunch experience.  The taste of fresh spring greens, the austere square-ness of our lunchroom, the refreshing coolness of a glass of water (a real glass, not a plastic bottle), the sweetness of fresh pineapple chunks.

Enjoying these common things was precluded because my mind was elsewhere and not in the present; the eating of a mid-day meal.

I missed an opportunity to savor. 

How often do we do this in our normal, busy lives?  We let our thoughts skip over the present, in order to mull over the future – a future we can not control.

The present is the only space we actually live in.  The present is our only sphere of influence.

My innate tendency to “anticipate” is a trait that was nurtured during my years in the Navy as a submarine officer.  A modern, nuclear powered submarine is an environment fraught with peril at every turn: high pressure steam that could melt your skin, compressed air that will implode your eardrums, moving equipment that will snatch and crush any loose appendages, not to mention the hundreds of feet of seawater separating you and your lungs from the atmosphere’s abundant supply of fresh air.

As Navy officers, we were trained to anticipate the next step – to always rehearse in the possible outcomes of each and every activity.

We always looked ahead.  What could go wrong with this situation?  If we pulled that lever, how would the system respond?  If we venture over this body of water, what are the risks?

We were always in a heightened sense of readiness, ready to respond if something went “pop” in the night.  Could we respond quickly if an adversary suddenly careened past at 1000 yards distance?  (1000 yards is way too close in submarine geometry!)

This level of awareness and attitude of anticipation was necessary for those entrusted to protect the citizens of our great nation.  But is such a constant level of anticipation always needed for our everyday lives?  I say NO.

We only have the current moment.  Life is short and it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.  When we focus on the present, we give that over which we have the highest degree of control our greatest attention – the here and now.  Living in the moment encourages mindfulness.  Taking time to see, hear, and feel that which surrounds us – whether good or bad.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  James 4:13-14 (ESV)

Living in a constant state of anticipation and wondering happens next may cause us to miss the important aspects of the present.  It also contributes to anxiety and stress – two things that are not healthy if out of balance.  If we focus our attenton on the present, we make no room nor space for anxiety to grow.

Here are some tips to help you focus on the present and links to great articles on each:

Meditation

Gratitude 

Journaling 

Eliminate excess baggage from your life

Make space

Slow down

 What do you think?  How can you slow down and savor the moment?

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