Learning to be present to the world around me

I’m a dreamer. Most of the time my mind is not attached to the world around me because I’m dreaming, thinking, scheming, planning. I have what you might call an overactive imagination. I watched enough movies to be able to do CGI sequences in my head – seeing a plot of land become a garden, orchard and then a farm. I used to assume everyone else was this way too, but then I turned 6.

Most of my life is lived in the realm of what could be rather than what is. It isn’t like I’m totally divorced from reality, I just resonate with my ideal world more than the one surrounding me. This is good in that it leads me to be a catylist, a transformer. I am the embodiment of George Bernard Shaw’s quote:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

That sounds really sexy until the world kicks your teeth in a couple of times.

The truth is, I’m a lot more Greek than Hebrew in my approach to life, though I hate to admit it. I have the gross tendency to split life into the physical and the spiritual, thinking the spiritual is more holy, more noble, more right or good. It is Greek Dualism at its finest.

The Hebrews understand life differently. They realize that God made everything, not just our spirits. They understand than the physical and the spiritual can’t be separated from one another very long without something bad happening. More than that – they realize that physical encounters can be just as profound and life giving as spiritual ones – that you can find God in a glass of water as easily (or easier) as finding Him in a 3 hour long prayer/meditation session.

I often forget this point. I forget to be present in the world God has created for me to live in because I’m too caught up with the world yet to be. It is good to have a real expectation of Heaven coming to earth AND it is good to put your hand to the plow by loving and serving the people around you. I can imagine with detail a 250+bushel per acre corn harvest, but unless I hop in the tractor it ain’t gonna’ happen.

So I’m learning to be present. My son is a great help with that. There is something about watching a baby that keeps you in the moment. I’m learning to appreciate rocking him to sleep and letting him rest in my arms. I learning to stay focused on him playing rather than checking my email for the 20th time. I’m learning to make memories rather than take pictures. I’m learning to immerse myself in living.

It is fun, and also terribly difficult for me. I’m so accustomed to retreating to my well developed inner world that prolonged exposure to reality is uncomfortable at best and downright irritating at worst. All things in tension I suppose.

I’ve been really convicted by the idea that the Kingdom is “within” or “among” us rather than “out there.” How much of God’s activity have I missed in my speculations? How many divine appointments have I blown off because I didn’t have eyes to see. Too many.

I will never overcome being a dreamer – it is who I am. But I can learn to be more present than I have been. I can learn to see, serve and love. I’m excited for this new chapter.

Thanks for reading friends.


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