be present, Scott!

“If being in the moment is hard, then being in the moment in a positive way is harder.”

– A.J Jacobs, from article in Real Simple magazine, September 2009

I sat in a cabin for two full days.  I read a book entitled, Mad Church Disease, detailing how leading in a church context can work against one’s health and spiritual vitality.  I read Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and all the Major Prophets.  I journaled and did some self-assessment.  I read a magazine article from Real Simple magazine that challenged me to the core.  And I made some commitments to make some changes in my life before the end of 2009.  One of those changes spiked the traffic on this blog and comments on my Facebook – I gave up my Blackberry for a regular phone.  Not sure for how long, but definitely going to be a minimum two month fast.

The second big theme I felt during this retreat was that I need to be engaged fully.  Getting rid of my Blackberry goes a long way in helping with this.  I have a friend who will look me in the face when I am distracted and LOUDLY call me out, “Be present, Scott!”  She cracks me up.

But, in all honestly, I have been shortchanging people.  Some have not had my full attention and focus.  And because of this, they have not been getting all of me, the best of me.  Some friends have been getting the dregs, the leftovers.  This is a hard pill to swallow.  But I felt the weight of this necessary movement in that cabin, writing in my Moleskine.  Dallas Willard once said, “The first act of love is giving attention.”  I am deciding to focus my attention for a purpose.  I am making moves and choices to become present

But not even just being present; rather, being present in a way that actually contributes something.  I say I love people, but that statement must be actualized into an action of real presence and attention.  If I really love people and if I am going to be present in a positive way, then it must be something larger than just a physical way.  More than just paying attention.  I have to be ready to offer myself, the best of myself.

So, this is my public commitment to a renewal in my presence and engagement where I am living.

Did you identify with my experience?  Do you struggle to be present?  If so, what gets in the way of being present in a positive way?  What can you do to change this?

One Comment

  1. Scott,
    I think everyone lost you after you watched you first Star War movie. While at church the other day my Blackberry 8330 Wave (bragging rights) vibrated so violently while resting on my not opened Bible it shook itself right off the Bible and onto the floor. Feeling somewhat guilty while holding it close to my hip and quickly checking the message I put it back onto the padded pew (Methodist don’t have padded pews). Interesting enough as I glanced around to see if anyone had caught me in the middle of my criminal act I counted over five other people also texting and up to even playing games on their cell phones.

    Recently I got my last cell phone bill and it was over $200 for one month of service. So I’m going to give some recent observations that may indicate like myself you are hooked on technology:

    #1. If you know what a “twitter” is, or dialog more than one a day; you’re hooked.
    #2. If you have so many passwords you have a separate document to keep track of them then you are hooked.
    #3. If you carry a PDA, daily planner, cell phone, and/or pager dude you is sick.
    #4. If your spare time is spent on Facebook playing Mafia Wars or other games then you is really sick.
    #5. If you answer your phone while in the rest room…well you figure that one out.
    #6. If you only take vacations where there is coverage then you ain’t got a life, borrow one.
    #7. If you can’t get into your car and drive more than one mile without texting, answering, or calling someone you are an accident waiting to happen. (by the way, if you are driving, drinking coffee, smoking, and texting the accident isn’t worth more points)
    #8. If you keep your thumb nails trimmed to a certain length to make texting easier…(that just ain’t right either)
    #9. If you use your phone for whatever reason during church who are you fooling?
    #10. While visiting a friend, you hold up your index finger to interrupt a conversation to answer a call you should have your Starbucks coffee breath knock right out of your head.

    I know more could be added to this list but the greater point is while growing up my mother had to first bottle break me, take away my Baa-Baa blanket and you like and many other Scott I’m loosing my last sense of security…my over priced communication toy.


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