Reading, Teaching, Learning

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Spiritual Journey Thursday - Be PRESENT

 I look forward to Thursdays when I can publish thoughts on my spiritual journey and hear the thoughts of others on a weekly basis.  It has become a space for an encouraging and fortifying community to come together.  We welcome anyone who would like to join us!
For the next couple of months, we are writing about each other's One Little Words.  Please join us!  If you have a One Little Word this year and would like to explore the spiritual aspect of it, let me know, and I will add you to the schedule!  Today's OLW is Margaret Simon's word, PRESENT.
Be present.  Three moments came my way today that solidified the concept of being PRESENT.  One was reading this blog post by my daughter, Libby's, best friend who is living in Montenegro for a year on a CRU (Campus Crusade) STINT (short term international ministry).  I was struck by the wisdom this young woman expressed when she realized she was living in the future.  I heard someone say once that anxiety is caused by living in the past or future.  If we lived in the present, we would be so much more content and grateful.  But it's much easier said than done!  We have to remind ourselves daily to be present.  To focus (my 2015 word).  To wait (my 2015 word).  To be.

Another moment was after I filled the bird feeders during the snow we got today.  I looked outside this evening and saw at least 15-17 cardinals settled in the trees that line our backyard and around the feeders.  Bright red male cardinals and soft brown females perched, waiting their turns, while 5 or so feasted on the seeds.  It took my breath away.  What a spectacle!   I stopped preparing dinner and just appreciated them.  I took a picture, but it was with my phone from inside because there was no way to go outside without scaring them all away.  It didn't do them justice at all, but I wanted to capture the moment.  I stood still.  I was present.

The third moment came tonight.  I teach a Spiritual Gifts class at my church, and tonight was the first session.  We tried to start last week, but only one person came (my OLW, WAIT, came into play!).  I waited, and tonight there were six.  When discussing that spiritual gifts are given to you by the Holy Spirit when you become a believer, one of the participants wondered why it was such a mystery then.  Why isn't it revealed clearly to us what our spiritual gifts are?  Why do we need a class to figure it out?  An honest and fair question.  I'd like to know why lots of things aren't clearly revealed to us by God!!  Another participant spoke up with some wise words.  He said, "Maybe God is being merciful in not showing us where we're going.  It might scare us."  I wrote it down immediately.  Why yes, that's the answer, isn't it?!  What an amazing revelation.  We can't know all the answers now.  We wouldn't necessarily be able to handle it. 
Live in the present.  Trust God.  Be grateful for now.  God is with us.  He knows what He is doing (even when we don't).

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  - Matthew 6:31-34

Each week we'll each write about the spiritual aspects of the word that is scheduled, and the person who has claimed that word will write about it as well.  When my post is published that morning, link up!  Let's see what we learn and discover! (If you would like to be added to the schedule, just let me know in the comments!)
January 14: Carol Varsalona - BELIEVE
January 21:  Margaret Simon - PRESENT
January 28:  Michelle Haseltine - SELAH
February 4:  Justin Stygles - (Blind) FAITH
February 11: Leigh Ann Eck - INTENT
February 18:  Irene Latham - DELIGHT
February 25:  Violet Nesdoly - MINDFULNESS
March 3:  Julieanne Harmatz - ADMIRE
March 10:  Holly Mueller - WAIT
March 17:  Linda Kulp - SIMPLIFY


  1. I love all of these examples of presence, Holly! What a beautiful song too!!! Being present is so powerful. I'm grateful to Margaret for picking this word. It serves as such an important reminder!

  2. My comment vanished as I was composing so I will come back to this shortly. Please know that your post and song provided me with a beautiful morning prayer that lifted me up before going to my catscan.

    1. Carol, I hope everything is OK. May you feel God's presence today.

    2. Yes, I hope all is well, Carol! Prayers!

  3. I love how when you pay attention, grace comes, like the cardinals. Thanks for hosting this link up. I took a turn from present to presents, the gifts of the spirit.

  4. The cardinals (and you) waiting! I love that so much. I've found that asking "why" is often a way to spin our wheels, and to stay out of the present... A big part of the spiritual journey is learning to appreciate mystery. Thank you!

  5. Good morning! I look forward to coming back and reading all the posts later!

  6. First of all, Kelly Rae Robert's artwork is beautiful. Those words sum up my expectations for this year. Living in those snippets of time that really matter! The cardinal pictures is just as beautiful and is a perfect example of waiting.

  7. Thank you for making present to us and for us each week this meeting ground where we can ponder and be fed, as when you pondered the cardinals whom you also had fed! Thanks for the weekly feeders for us! God bless you!

  8. I'm back. I started my day with morning readings from SJT and now reflecting at the end of the day as I wait patiently for my catscan results.
    From your post and the song I composed this ending prayer:

    I capture the moment.
    He is with us-
    hand outstretched
    I trust.
    I believe.

  9. I saw your cardinal pic on FB last night! What a wonderful way to share standing still and being present with us. And I read the blog post. Easy to long for something in the future instead of putting our trust in the Lord now. Finally, I love your final words: "Live in the present. Trust God. Be grateful for now. God is with us. He knows what He is doing (even when we don't)." So many wise words!

  10. Thank you for sharing the cardinals. I wish I could have seen them, but your picture is almost like being there. Boy, staying present is hard sometimes. I am trying to let go of always trying to control the outcome, and just trust that HE is the ONE in control. Lovely post, thank you!

  11. I love cardinals in the winter. I love catching them in their bright red splashes against the backdrop of snow. We all need to slow down and be present so we don't miss great moments like this. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Hi Holly. A lovely thoughtful, reflection on being present. I do like your conclusion about understanding our spiritual gifts. It's often so much easier for others to identify what surges out of us in response to God's calling than it is to see it for ourselves. In the moment, the present, we respond. Irene invited me to join you. I hope to be present on Thursdays with you!

    1. Welcome, Doraine! We'd love to write about your word, SHINE! Can I put you on the schedule for March 24?

  13. Hi, Holly! Margaret and Carol recommended that I head on over here with my OLW. I have picked the word BOLD or BOLDLY, as I have made a decision and a realization that my actions, needs, desires and life need more boldness in them.

    1. Donna,
      I'm so excited that you're joining us! What a great OLW! Would you like me to put you on the schedule so we can all write about the spiritual aspect of your OLW?