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Wherever You Are, Be There

Point to Ponder:

Are you going through each day living in your past or anticipating your future?

Have you ever had one of those moments when you heard something and immediately thought, "Yep, that’s for me!" Actually, my exact words were, “Crap! I know this is for me.” This is what happened a few years ago while listening to an excellent podcast by John O’Leary. John O’Leary interviewed Matt Manzari, a professional athlete who was trimming trees at his church and unfortunately had an arching power line contact his water bucket causing 12,000 volts of electricity to surge into his body. The accident caused 4th and 5th-degree burns and melted the skin off of most of Matt's chest and arms. The burns went deep enough into Matt's body that they actually killed some of his muscle and bone. The accident was so severe that doctors treating Matt were unsure if he would live. During the interview, John asked Matt if at any point he had a “Why me” moment or was angry at God for allowing the accident to occur. Matt calmly responded that he wasn’t frustrated with God and then quoted something he recalled Max Lucado said: “Wherever you are, be there.” He said he realized that beyond getting the best medical care possible, there was nothing more he could do. He certainly couldn’t change his situation and the best thing to do was accept it, be present, and trust that he would heal.

Fast forward to last August. We had just moved from San Diego to Tulsa and I had several months worth of pity parties. Starring out of my office window feeling angry and land-locked, Matt’s words came over me: “Wherever you are, be there.” I knew I had to stop wishing I was somewhere else. I knew if I didn’t accept and embrace now and continued to compare Tulsa to Austin or San Diego, I was going to miss out on the joy and opportunity that was in front of me. Which leads me to this:

Having just returned from our dreamy San Diego Girlfriend Getaways, the theme that continued to come to mind was avoid the temptation of anticipation. Instead, focus on now. In Matt's words, “wherever you are, be there.” For our get-awayers in particular, the encouragement was to turn their mom/woman brain off and not wonder what’s next. Their only job was to enjoy the moment. We would let them know exactly what they needed to know, when they needed to know.

You know how our greatest strengths can often be our greatest weaknesses? I believe the ability to think ten-steps ahead and multi-task is a necessary strength and super-power most women possess. I also think that turning off our brain, being present and letting someone else lead, like our husbands, significant others, friends, co-workers, etc is our greatest super-power opportunity. As someone who stops her husband mid-sentence and tells him to stop talking because I know what he’s going to say and I already have a solution (a shameful admittance), even if I do have the answer, I know that letting him take lead so I can turn off my brain is nice for both of us…even when the outcome looks differently.

In conclusion, on Friday I read a devotional that reiterated "Wherever you are, be there." The exact words were, “keep your mind on the present journey." If God were to lead you up a cliff, He will equip you throughly for that strenuous cliff.” When reading the Bible verses related to the devotional, this thought overcame me: “Who do I think I am..trying to look ahead and figure out tomorrow, or priding myself in being 10-steps ahead. Sometimes this is necessary but so often, tomorrow is none of my business. My business is to enjoy what is right in front of me, or in the words of the late Jim Rohn, "to master the art of being."

One of the major reasons why we fail to find happiness or to create a unique lifestyle is because we have not yet mastered the art of being. While we are home, our thoughts are still absorbed with solving the challenges we face at the office. And when we are at the office, we find ourselves worrying about problems at home. We go through the day without really listening to what others are saying to us. We may be hearing the words, but we aren’t absorbing the message.We are so involved in yesterday and tomorrow that we never even notice that today is slipping by. As we go through the day we find ourselves focusing on past experiences or future possibilities. We are so involved in yesterday and tomorrow that we never even notice that today is slipping by. We go through the day rather than getting something from the day. We are everywhere at any given moment in time except living in that moment in time. Lifestyle is learning to be wherever you are. It is developing a unique focus on the current moment, and drawing from it all of the substance and wealth of experience and emotions that it has to offer. Lifestyle is taking time to watch a sunset. Lifestyle is listening to silence. Lifestyle is capturing each moment so that it becomes a new part of what we are and of what we are in the process of becoming. Lifestyle is not something we do; it is something we experience. And until we learn to be there, we will never master the art of living well.


Action Item

The next time your thoughts focus on the past or move to the future: STOP! Take a breath, grab your thoughts and enjoy where you are.

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