The Blessing of Mindfulness (One Word 2014)
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment and having an awareness of experiences as they happen.
It’s the second week of Lent and yes, I’ve forgotten or messed up a few times, but I can say at this point I’m learning a lot. I don’t want to call it sin, but I don’t feel guilty during the times I’ve messed up so far. I feel a sense of peace and I know that Lent is a time when I feel especially safe, where my slip-ups are opportunities to “Fail Forward” and draw closer to God.
For me there is no quitting during Lent, if I “mess up” well… I still have “X” numbers of days left and I must keep going. I wish I could extend this outlook to the rest of my thoughts during the year; it’s something I am still working on. Failing Forward is not only one of my favourite John Maxwell books; it is also a growing way of life for me. I’m learning that God doesn’t quit on us and therefore, I am not to quit. Paul gave the best metaphor for our faith, that of an Olympic long distance runner. Does a long distance runner quit because he has fallen 40 minutes into his run? No. Once he realises what has happened, he spits the dirt out of his mouth, shakes the dirt n’ blood off his knees and arms, gets up and resumes running. A well trained runner would never think of bowing out of a foot race because he slipped and fell. He knows he has invested too much time, heart, and discipline to give up because of a setback.
Mindfulness is a blessing because it teaches us to be present in our life. Through this type of practice I can focus on Jesus’ instructions and Paul’s teachings that tell me I am not to be anxious about anything:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
Mindfulness brings the peace of God into your life. When you are not in the present moment it is difficult to be at peace when your mind is filled with past memories and an anxious future. God is not focused on the past or the future like His human creations are; He is in the here and now.
Are you maintaining a state of mindfulness or do you find yourself habitually wondering back to the past or jumping ahead to the future?
When you find your emotions pulling you away from the present moment try saying a quick, one sentence word of prayer or blessing to God. For example repeating, “Lord, help me to see this person as you see him/her.” It can also be a short bible verse that brings you comfort, joy, peace, or strength. As you repeat these, remember to stay in the moment, no praying about the past or the future, it’s about staying in the moment with a sense of calm and peace.