Have you ever been in a conversation that is engaging? You are talking and listening back and forth. But, something happens in the moment. It is that moment when their voice starts sounding like a car engine and just like that, your mind is now in a race car speeding down the track!
One of the areas of my life that I struggle with is being present. My mind is continually running towards what’s next and what I have to accomplish. Being present is to be dialed into the conversation where you truly listen to the other person and their heart. Drifting off communicates that the person or what they are saying is not that important.
I would say this is a chink in my leadership armor. God has been revealing to me that the goal of leadership is to lead people, not just tasks. By nature I am more task-driven. I want to accomplish the goal and see results. When someone wants to have “small talk” about the weather, my mind can quickly wander to more important things.
Okay, now I’ve been transparent. You see my weakness. You might struggle with me on being present. My prayer is that as leaders, we will be present.
Areas that we must be present
In our relationship with God:
Instead of simply clicking “share” on youversion’s Bible verse of the day, stop and memorize a verse and spend quality time praying and listening to God. We cannot microwave our personal time with God. Maybe turn off music in the car and listen to God’s voice and share your heart with Him. Maybe turn on music that leads you to worship. Fight the urge to DO and spend time BEING close to your Heavenly Father.
In our families:
One of the areas of my life I’m trying to improve upon is disconnecting from the phone and spending more time being present for my wife, Cassidy and son Micah. Turning away from the technology and giving full attention to them. Our first ministry is our families. Protect your day off and spend quality time. Pray together. Stop and listen to each other.
In our friendships:
Instead of looking at our phones together, put them aside and ask questions to grow closer as friends. When someone is talking, give them eye contact to show they are worth your time. Ask questions that help give you an opportunity to encourage your friend towards Jesus. Stop and pray for them. In person.
In our ministries:
If a person needs to talk, stop and listen. Fight the urge to avoid conversations especially when they are difficult ones. If we are running around trying to finish setting up the lights, stage or sound as students walk in, we cannot be present. Prepare well so we can show value to our students and their families. Remember we are not the Savior to our students. We simply serve the Savior. Pour out love into their hearts as you lead and leave the results up to God.
- Is it possible for us to perform all of our job description, home and friendship to-do’s and miss being present?
- Is it possible to rush through life trying to complete a multitude of tasks and miss pouring God’s love into our own families?
- Is it possible that we can spend life trying to come up with the newest, most creative approach to ministry and miss simply listening to a student’s hurts?
I believe so, because I am guilty. Let us all be present and sensitive to God’s voice.
“Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10
One of my favorite songs to put our relationship with God in perspective: