Living in the Present is a term we use today to express living in the moment and not in the past or future. It is a training of our minds, hearts and steps. How do we do this when we are preoccupied or anxious due to life stressors or our internal beliefs?
I was in the check out line yesterday and having a light conversation with Brent the guy checking me out- By the way, I believe part of Trader Joe’s hiring criteria is hiring outgoing, upbeat people.
Someone called me and though I answered the call, I asked if I could call back because I was checking out. The caller said sure, and I returned to the task of the transaction. I apologized to Brent for the interruption of a call. He was surprised. He was just happy that I acknowledged him, that I didn’t treat him like a robot as some customers.
BEING PRESENT is not a new thing. Being conscious is not a new way to be at peace. If we follow the teachings of Jesus; the psalms of David; the words of Isaiah the prophet, we find that constantly they were admonishing others to walk presently, to ask for guidance, to trust.
I have trouble being really present in my life and in the moment of now. Who isn’t? How we process fear and anxiousness in our life interferes or is an obstacle to being present. And when matters of the heart show up, I have a lot of fear.
I am what they have categorized as a separation sensitive in the attachment theory research of how our childhood attachment is carried throughout our lives. Separation sensitives have a need to be close to others, especially in their romantic life. It gives us a feeling of security. If we don’t experience this feeling of closeness, our insecurity rises up in the form of anxiousness. We tend to feel lonelier than other types.
Which means, when we don’t have this, we tend to have trouble not figuring out what is down the road and are fearful of being rejected or abandoned. We want more than anything to protect ourself by knowing before it’s time to know what the outcome is.
There are two other types of attachment-Safety -Sensitive and Secure. Safety’s are just the opposite of Sensitive’s. They feel smothered by intimacy and pull away. They are dismissive of love. Secure’s are neither types. They are more balanced in the range of the other two- think in the middle of the scale.
In the past month, I experienced a lot of anxiousness around relationship. And I have had to calm myself but in a different way than my past practices. I have returned to my faith. Sought it out intentionally, so that I could find trust again in myself and God. Surrender has become a place of comfort and peace. Reading words such that describe God’s light and its guidance has helped me find a way to help with anxiousness. 2 Corinthians 4:6 Let the light shine out of darkness-the light of the knowledge of God’s glory. or Psalm 119:105 My word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.
I am constantly feeding my soul with words, music and prayers in order to calm myself and to hear the truth of the present. Only then can I gain perspective and not fall into the patterns of the past.
The study reports that children who do not find a parent or main caretaker calming them when they experience fear usually have the hardest time and will act out or demand attention in another way. The have such a hard time calming themselves and even others can’t calm the child except that parent. An example is when a child is dropped off in the nursery or day care and cries constantly for the parent. They just want to feel the arms of their father or mother around them-the world is safe again.
But our only true safety is anchored in a hope beyond our human frame. There are four levels of hope. Ron Johnson of Restoration Community Church spoke of these four levels:
Level 1: Wishful Thinking: that daydreaming or throwing out there a thought of what might be or what you desire.
Level 2: Blind Optimism: So optimistic that you ignore the warning signs or not able to deal with the true nature of what is going on within and without you.
Level 3: Goals and Dreams: Diligent plans and aspirations. At this level many people believe they have hope-security. But life can change the direction of your life very quickly.
Level 4: Promises of God’s hope and Love: This can be the deepest level of hope-the anchor that holds you in the fiercest storms of life.
Emmet Fox lived in the late 1980’s through the early 1900’s. He wrote a very small book (6 pages) about the golden key. He believed that when a person would have a difficulty or had trouble with thoughts or anxiousness, if instead of dwelling on the problem, he would say statements such as God is for me; God is love; God loves me; etc. a person could change the thoughts and change the course of their lives. This was the golden key.
Emmet Fox began the new thought school of how to change a person’s life. It was called the science of prayer. Many traditional Christians may not like this idea- but let’s strip away definitions and look at what he is saying: He is using scripture and refuting negative thoughts with them. And it is effective. Whole schools of thought have risen up in the last few years trying to help people improve and create a more powerful life. Only these schools of thought have removed God and scripture.
It’s not about empty affirmations- it’s about believing that if you replace negative or troublesome thoughts with God affirming thoughts, you will be changed- more grateful, more aware of God’s goodness and love. It is about living in the present.
So the verse regarding a lamp unto my feet are the words of God-living words to correct and guide us, and keep us trusting and in the present. For me? an effective way to love myself and those around me. Jesus calls us to be present, to seek guidance and direction and from the spiritual walk comes the walk in this present life.