Can You Be Here?

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

I am a chronic multitasker. Whether it’s planning out our week, grocery shopping online, thinking about what needs to be done around the house, or scrolling and shopping online, over the years, I’ve conditioned myself to be two (or three or four or five) places at once: where I am in my body, versus the billion directions I’m running in my mind. I might be watching a movie with my husband, but I find myself itching to get up, get going, and do something. I might be “playing” with my kid, but I’m annoyed that she wants all of my attention when I “need” to get our groceries ordered, or read this email, or check instagram for the tenth time this hour.

Recently my husband and I were talking, and he said something that punched me in the gut (in the best way): as I was complaining that it seemed like he’d rather play tennis or do something else than spend time with me, he looked at me, hurt, and said, “Well, you’re often too distracted to be present with me.” Woof. He’s right. While I wanted to argue, I could visualize all the ways my endless multitasking has been a clear signal of “I love you, but I’d rather be somewhere else right now.”

The same thing is often true about God. I find myself up early reading my Bible and spending time with him, but my heart and brain feel more like a hamster darting around its cage: I’m here, but in my head, I want to be anywhere else.

I want more than this distracted life. I want to be like David in Psalm 27, so sure that there’s nothing better than the presence of God. So determined to stay there rather than being swept up in the fast pace of the world.

And so I’m asking God to change my heart, to slow me down and help me remove the distractions from my life so I can be truly present with Him and the people I love.

That practically looks like deleting instagram off my phone and keeping my devices in another room when I’m spending time with friends or family. It looks like trusting that things will get done when I can get to them and not let the toys on the floor or my never-ending to-do list keep me distracted from what matters a whole lot more. One of my favorite musicians, Chris Renzema, in his song “The Right Things” says it best: “I want to hold onto the right things and let go of the rest/ Because time’s worth more than money, I’m done buying what won’t last/ The years are just a vapor and this life is just a breath/ so I want to hold onto the right things and let go of the rest.”

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