Be Fully Present

Who have you been with lately who you could have blessed? Who might have been with you who wanted to bless you?

I often encourage parents to be fully present to their children. We talk about leaving devices in other rooms or at least putting them on silent, playing board games with their kids, asking why they like the music they like, talking in the car rather than listening to music, and more.

The idea of being fully present to the people around us came home to me in a compelling way last Friday night and I’m grateful to God.

Perhaps you have heard me mention in a message that I am an introvert. Because of this, I’m often peopled-out by the end of events. I love ministering to people and I enjoy every conversation. The reality is, though, that it is tiring.

Maybe you’ve also heard me say that I sometimes get on airplanes after events hoping I won’t have to strike up long conversations with anyone. As an illustration, I’ve never thought to mention the bus that takes us from the terminal to our car in one of the airport parking lots because it’s extremely rare that anybody on those buses talks. But that’s not what happened last Friday night.

I had just flown home from 3½ fabulous, but long and intense days at the Care Net convention in St. Louis. Our flight was delayed and I had been waiting for the parking lot bus to pick me up in stifling heat so I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone.

I was followed onto the bus by a gentleman who had been waiting at the curb near me. As soon as he sat down, he struck up a conversation about the heat. I am grateful that my tone of voice, facial expressions, and eye contact were respectful. He kept talking. That’s when I was able to meet a real need. I’m grateful I wasn’t on my phone and I’m grateful I didn’t react in an immature or an unloving way when he began talking.

Again, I ask, who have we missed out blessing? And who have we missed out receiving a blessing from because we were not willing to be fully present?

I intend to approach bus rides differently from now on. This man asked where I was flying in from so I mentioned that I had been at a convention in St. Louis. He asked for details and I explained it was the Care Net convention for staff, board members, and volunteers from pregnancy resource centers. He immediately lit up and leaned forward.

He, his wife, and seven children had just relocated to the area from rural Arkansas where they supported and volunteered at a local pregnancy resource center. He asked if I knew about any centers in the community in which they now live. I do! I can now follow through and I believe he will follow through to invest in the cause he and his wife have has always believed in.

God had us ride the same bus. I absolutely believe that. Let’s be fully present to the people around us!