What a difference a year makes. After a year of studies at Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia, my daughter Maggie is now home. Her year abroad was very formative and the insights she gleaned have been the fodder for many great conversations, and I am sure many more to come.
One such topic is on the idea of presence. She shared that while at Hillsong the leadership encouraged their students to be “present.” Not to constantly think about what time it was at home, what friends or family might be doing, but rather to immerse themselves in the friendships and culture of Hillsong.
This focus on presence, I believe, is key to helping students adjust and ultimately to get the most out of their “once in a lifetime” experience. But, this is a good lesson for all of us. Contentment is not always easy even when things are going well. We are prone to allow ourselves to become distracted by what we might feel we’re missing – or missing out on – what someone else has that we don’t or somewhere else we would rather be, but learning to simply be present; to enjoy the moment, appreciate the season, and count our many blessings would go a long way to realizing the happiness that so often alludes us has really been so near all along.
There are times in each of our lives when our present is anything but pleasant. But still, in the midst of heartbreak there is a need to be present; to learn, to grow, and to be mindful of the presence of Christ in our lives. There are times when those difficulties culminate in healing and restoration, and other times – it seems more often – when they do not, but God is no less present. In those times we must necessarily cling to the truth the Apostle Paul held to during a personal trial, the promise that God’s grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I try not to make resolutions, but this year I am resolved to one of presence: To be more present in my current situation and to be more mindful of Christ’s presence in each step of the journey