I was gifted with some grace encounters yesterday – in the form of statements, questions, and conversations. I wasn’t looking for it, and almost missed them. The words kept circling back through my consciousness though, poking and prodding until I recognized them. When you consider all the words you hear in a day, it is easy to miss some of the important ones. It is interesting the way God chooses to keep replaying key words and phrases until you “get it” – and He is so patient. Sometimes, He even sends illustrations to highlight what He wants you to know. For me, He occasionally thumps me on the noggin to get the message through.
Mindfulness, being fully present in the moment – I think this is a key piece in catching grace on the first go ‘round. It is important to slow down, savor the moment – explore all it’s possibilities – before you let it go. Multitasking is a good thing, sometimes. There is a time and place for it – but I think it should not become the default mode of operation. It is so easy to rush through everything to get on to the next “thing”. After a while, if you stop to take a breath, you might wonder what the purpose of all that rushing is? Bill has encouraged us to start exploring our stops more fully. This week, we embarked on our first “away from Cadillac” adventure. We have made this particular trip many times before and never really explored. At his urging, we sat down and made a list of things and people to see. Although I don’t remember his exact words, Bill’s point was that he didn’t want us to leave town with the thought “Gee, I wish we would have checked out (insert people, places, things here) – maybe next time”. Not that we don’t ever plan on returning here, instead – fully appreciate the here and now. Then, do the same next time we visit. Instead of planning our departure as soon as we arrive somewhere – plan and fill our moments before we leave. Carefully and thoughtfully plan those moments, and make sure those plans include exploring and seeking out joy. Sure – you may have some less-than-joyful items to attend to, but that is the “grace thing” – you can also have time for joy. And leave time to just marinate and consider the amazing things you have found. Quiet moments to reflect, time to just listen – to birds, to bugs, to the sounds of the world waking up as well as the settling down for night – this is important as well. Otherwise, what have you gained? Accomplishing tasks, rushing to get through them – sometimes necessary, yes – but don’t let it be the reason that drives you. Quit putting off enjoying life for the myriad of reasons that are so readily available. Enjoy people, places, moments HERE and NOW.
Yesterday, I had a conversation that questioned my commitment to a goal I identified. It was a conversation that I needed, although I didn’t realize it at that time. On the surface, it was about one goal. Gracefully, that question just kept swirling around in my mind, until I realized that it was challenging my commitment to so much more. As the conversation progressed, a few more phrases found their way into the loop being replayed in my mind. I am grateful that God chooses those messages, and highlights them as needed. Even more grateful for the messengers he chooses to make me uncomfortable enough to recognize the need for change and growth. The church my mom attends has a practice of asking “where have you seen God this week?” I love that practice – it encourages you, at least once a week, to be mindful. I am working on adopting that and adapting it to “where have I seen God and grace today?” and being mindful and alert to note those God and grace sightings.
I believe that God takes full advantage of the opportunity when we are able to open our heart and mind to His leading. Yesterday was one of those times. Honestly, I know that grace opportunities and God moments are always present – the challenge is to keep heart and mind open, slow down and be mindful and intentional, and recognize what is right before our eyes.
Oh, and by the way – it’s good to pull out those secret, seemingly ridiculous, “things you’ve always to do/be but were afraid you would be laughed at” and try them on. Instead of laughter, you might be surprised at the amount of support you find! (Just another instance of grace :D)