How stewarding the small moments can open our eyes to others
Written by Taeryn Novak
How many of us, when waiting in line, can’t help but glance at our phones to see what we’re missing? But maybe what we’re actually missing is all that is here in the present moment.
There was a time when I found myself feeling constantly stressed, rushed, and overwhelmed as I went through my days, trying to keep on top of work and life responsibilities as well as the never-ending stream of online trends and social feeds. I longed to be more present in my life and with the people around me. But distractions, both external and internal, seemed incessant.
I knew I needed to change something, to take back some ground in the war against this culture’s hurried pace. However much I wanted to throw my smartphone off the edge of a cliff, I knew that hiding away was not going to solve anything.
I realized what it all boiled down to was how I stewarded and protected my most precious resources: my time and attention. While there were many things in my schedule that were outside my control, I asked myself what I could adjust. What small changes could I make?
I decided to stop looking at my phone whenever I was waiting for something. The instinct to reach into my pocket was hard to ignore, but the more I practised, the more I noticed what was around me: light cascading through a café window, the smile of a fellow grocery store shopper, the sound of my own breath.
The gateway into a deeper sense of presence has been in these fringe moments. They give me time to process what I have seen, and they slow me down enough to notice what—and more importantly who—is around me. They remind me of the presence of God with me.
He is a God of the past and future, yes, but I cannot be in multiple places at once, however much I try.
If I am always looking to the future, in expectation or fear, or if I am always dwelling on the past, in longing or regret, I miss the opportunities to experience God’s loving presence and gentle voice right where I am. It is a lifelong journey, but He will always be here, drawing me back to Him.
As we seek to follow Jesus’ way of living and loving others, we must look to the pace at which He walked—literally. Jesus walked everywhere. He was never in a rush, and some of the most beautiful miracles he performed came from what we would call interruptions.
Kosuke Koyama, in his book Three Mile an Hour God, writes that “Love has its speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.”
In our technological world, it takes effort and intention to remove the extraneous from our lives in order to walk at the speed of love.
What might God be calling you to remove from your life, in order to make more space for His Spirit to move in and through you? It could be as simple as deleting the Instagram app on your phone or pausing the podcast you listen to every morning.
Just imagine what simple wonders could take place if we were to look up, look around, and listen more. We might just find Jesus standing behind us in line at the grocery store. For whatever kindness we give to them, we also give to Him.