As you start reading this sentence you are at risk of being distracted by other things crying out for your attention: incoming emails, traffic noise, phone notifications, children crying, thoughts of what you still have to do today; all distracting you from being present in this moment. We are slaves to the culture of distraction.

Why not make 2020 the year of being present?

Being present involves giving yourself to the moment, freeing yourself from the past, seeing people and awaking yourself to God’s presence.

Shift how you view time

Our understanding (and practice) of time can be one of the major factors of why we struggle to remain present in a moment. The Ancient Greeks had two words for time, ‘Chronos’ and ‘Kairos’. Chronos has purely to do with measurable resources and with the hours, minutes, seconds of the day but Kairos speaks to an ‘appointed time’, ‘opportunities and moments to look out for’. Even though we long to have the Kairos mindset, we easily get consumed by the Chronos style of living daily. Ephesians 5:15-16 illustrates beautifully what good stewards we should be of our time: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but wise, making the best use of time because the days are evil.”

Allow yourself to have a Kairos lifestyle resting in God’s peace and presence, trusting His timing, rather than a Chronos lifestyle which results in unnecessary pressure.

Letting go of the past

Forgiveness frees us to be present and allows us to move on from the past without anger or seeking revenge. The power to forgive is what you hold, and you cannot teach others about it if you haven’t forgiven yourself and then forgiven others. Forgiveness is a gift from God that allows us to walk in supernatural freedom and remain authentic. Ephesians 4:32 says we are to forgive as Christ forgave. Can you? Or is unforgiveness stopping you going forward?

Be present with people

We are to cherish every moment we have with people. They are not projects or computer programs we work with daily.

It was about a year and a half ago when I changed jobs. I reflected on my time before leaving and asked myself how many times did I say the following 5 things to my team:

I’m proud of you,

I care about you,

I love you,

How can I help you?

I trust you.

Sadly, I needed to admit that it wasn’t executed often. Instead of being intentional and spontaneous about empowering them, I rather waited for a special occasion or what I thought was ‘the right time.’

I’m reminded of Colossians 3:12-14 when it speaks about clothing yourself with patience, humility, compassionate hearts and kindness, bearing with one another and doing this all-in love.

See people in the moment. Don’t pass them by in the rush of your day.

Be God’s presence to others

Anything in life that is worth doing will cost you something. It’s important to know what it is, remain committed and to prepare for it well.

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s mind plans his way as he journeys through life, but the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.”

Counting the cost as a follower of Jesus, is not necessarily about something you do, but someone you raise. People watch you all the time. Never doubt who you might be raising through example. We can only do that by being present, awake to the presence of God and not always present on our phones.

We are called to be diligent and selfless disciples who come together often to pray for our nation.

In the middle of last year, Cape Town experienced excruciating pain with the killings and abuse of woman and children, and gangster violence. It left people feeling scared, traumatised, helpless but also a city filled with questions, rawness of ash, grief, pain and so many more emotions. We tend to ask the question, “Where is God?”

Lamentations 3:19-27(MSG) says “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.”

This passage encourages us to continue to have hope and hold on to God’s love despite the darkness we sometimes face. How do you need to apply this passage into your life “to keep a grip on hope”? With the practice of prayer, allow God to fill you to be His hope-filled presence to others.

Answering the challenge

What will it take of you to be more present in reaching young people for Christ this year?

Which area in your life do you need to work on to be a more effective and present in your daily lifestyle?

What is your action plan to motivate others to ‘be present’ during this year?

We need to be fearless by depending on Christ alone, we need to be watchful, not missing a moment and we need to be listening for God.