Friday, June 23, 2017

The Rare Gift of Being Fully Present

The challenging invitation of what it might look like to be 'fully present' to another soul kept tumbling around in my head as I trotted along on today's early morning walk.  

For each of us has a special person {or two} in our life who is yearning for some undivided, focused attention that only we can provide.  The good news is that we get to decide if / when / how we will offer that lovely gift of ourselves to another.

I'm not talking about some kind of weird, exhausting co-dependent relationship, but the willing, gentle offering of a healthy grace-laden presence to someone who's struggling.

One beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.

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This is not about doing, but about being still.  

This is not about offering advice, but about listening well.  

This is about laying aside what's good to invest in what's best.

Not to mention clearing valuable space in our overloaded calendars and unplugging from all that grabs for our attention so can go there unhindered.

Literally.

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Being fully present to another soul requires 4 gratitude-fueled distinctives that have been cultivated over time:

~  We are at peace with God, yielding to a sacred stillness in the depths of our own beings, an emotionally healthy spirituality, a well overflowing with all the fruit of His Spirit's faithful, delightful presence ... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control {Galatians 5:22}.

~  We have experienced our own broken woundedness, our own grief and sorrow ... and embraced a hard won healing along the way.

~  We are comfortable in our own skin so that we have no ax to grind, no hidden agenda to fulfill, nothing at all to prove to ourselves or anyone else.

~  We are humble in our own self-evaluation so that we know that any ability we have to embrace the calling to become a wounded healer is only because of God's powerfully redemptive work in our own lives.

Pondering with you,




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Photo by Thomas Rey on Unsplash

38 comments:

  1. Linda, I love this so much!

    "One beggar showing another beggar where to find bread." Yes! That is my aim; but, sometimes I find myself NOT being fully present when listening. I am praying to do a better job of being present. I think in today's world, it is sorely needed!

    P.S. - I know your McHugh quote is always listed above the comment section, but today it is especially appropriate.

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    1. You're so right ... too often we find ourselves not being fully there for people ... maybe too much on our plates? Or too much focus on drumming up some kind of fabulous response?

      God help us.

      And yes, The Listening Life is an incredible resource. Last year's best read for me! And Adam's coming out with another book soon ... I'll be talking about it in my next book post.

      ;-}

      Have a great weekend, friend ...

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  2. This is really wonderful, Linda. What a heart-filled essay!

    I'd expand being comfortable in our own skin to include being comfortable in our own discomfort. We may be in pain, or exhausted, or whatever, and that discomfort jumps around in front of us, demanding our attention by trying to renew its own novelty...but when we get used to it, we can look past that 'egocentric' presence and it no longer forms a barrier to listening.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/06/your-dying-spouse-327-whats-heaven-like.html

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    1. Excellent observation, Andrew. One that you can make with authenticity because you live there and show us how to do it bravely.

      There is a powerful, compelling grace in sacrificially extending ourselves even in the midst of endless physical pain ... and doing so without any effort to call attention to our own maladies.

      My mom does this.

      Joni Eareckson Tada does it, too.
      http://www.joniandfriends.org/

      My dear friend, Kristen Milligan, did this well. She now sings with the angels.
      http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2012/10/31-days-of-awesome-relationships-day-27.html

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    2. Linda, what a blessing to have a mom like that! And thank you so much for the links to Joni and to your friend Kristen.

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  3. Linda...like fresh manna. Thank you.

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  4. What a precious gift it is to be fully present to another wounded soul, Linda. Thank you for sharing your insights and inspirations here!
    Blessings!

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  5. We are comfortable in our own skin...so true! Being free in our freedom as daughters/sons of Christ allows us to be freely and fully present. I know I can have agenda's like..."are they going to like what I'm saying or even like me" and then it comes about me and out of presence! All wise and wonderful words today. Thank you.

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    1. Freedom has benefits we never even thought of, doesn't it ...

      ;-}

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  6. YES-YES-YES---well said, My Friend!
    Blessings!

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  7. Amen, friend. It's sad that we live in an age where being present is a sacrifice. And, also its own reward. I appreciate this emphasis on being present for another. Thank you for sharing, Linda. Hope you're having a great weekend. ((xoxo))

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    1. Yes, Brenda, it's been a perfectly lovely weekend around here. God is so good!

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  8. You describe the ultimate and most beautiful gift we can offer to others, and to ourselves. Blessings on your Sabbath, my friend!

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    1. Blessings of rest to you as Sabbath wends it's way to a gentle, quiet close, friend ...

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  9. I'm still not where I want to be in offering the gift of full presence. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don't. :( Thanks for the reminder that it's worth continuing to try.

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    1. We're all in process, aren't we ... I can think of very few people who have truly arrived. They're saints!

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  10. This is an area in which I continually struggle -- sometimes because there are so many demands and not enough of me to be present to all the things and people that need my unwavering gaze . . . and sometimes because I am so infernally selfish.

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    1. Yes, this is an unending pathway, a difficult call. I hear exactly what you're saying, Michele.

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  11. This is a beautiful reminder. Have a beautiful day!

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  12. Your reflections here are really helpful, Linda, especially as I try to do this for someone today. I love the reminder that any ability we have to help others comes from God and it doesn't all depend on us.

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    1. I'd love to hear how your day went, Lesley. So glad that there was something here to send you on your way ...

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  13. Your four distinctives are beautiful, Linda. As I read them, I thought of friends I've had over the years (and now, too) who fit them exactly. What gifts they are in my life. And the point that these are cultivated over time gives me hope that God will continue to nurture them in my own life ... probably for as long as I live, I'm guessing! Wonderful post, my friend!

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    1. And I'm guessing that your friends would give that same love and grace right back to you, Lois. They are blessed to have your presence ... even as I am grateful for you, even from afar.

      Blessings this evening.

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  14. Being fully present is truly a gift in this age of the best communication the world has ever seen, and yet the horrific lack of relationship and interaction. Thank you again for the reminder of how important it is to be fully present, and at peace with ourselves, and with the Lord in order to be able to give of ourselves fully! Hugs :)

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    1. You've nailed it, Marilyn. All that communication has left us with weakened relationships and phony, self-obsessed interaction.

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  15. My husband uses that phrase often when speaking to the men in our care. He says he just "one beggar showing another where the bread is". Being present can be a challenge in today's world. Thank you for your clear understanding of our need to be present and the hows and whys to make that happen in our life.

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    1. We're all beggars in one way, shape, or form, aren't we. May we share the bread we have received and trust that God will multiply it like loaves and fishes.

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  16. Beautiful thoughts here. Your four points are encouraging. That we can be broken and wounded yet able to offer healing to others. Love this Linda

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    1. Yep, when all is said and done wounded healers are the most effective people helpers. We've been there, done that.

      And it's so good to see you again, friend ...

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  17. Love this. It's such a struggle sometimes for us to be really present with each other--myself included! There are so many distractions. Love how simply you put this: "This is not about doing, but about being still.
    This is not about offering advice, but about listening well.
    This is about laying aside what's good to invest in what's best."
    Going to be keeping this in mind today and (hopefully) beyond!

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    1. So many distractions. Ain't that the truth, Laura.

      There's a fine line in there somewhere. It shifts from season to season, this ability to be present even when so much pulls at us from all angles.

      I'm glad you're here today. Very.

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  18. Being still and listening well. It sounds so much easier than it is. Is it possible to be allergic to the ideas? :)

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda