Since my daughter was born a little over a year ago, I’ve been gulping down my morning coffee instead of enjoying it a sip at a time.
I fell into this habit because I wanted to drink a cup of coffee but had little time to do so because I needed my hands free to care for my baby. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I haven’t slowed down the pace at which I consume my coffee despite the fact that my little one is now older and sleeping better.
This is a pretty inconsequential issue and is simple enough to fix. However, as I was thinking about it, I felt like the Lord highlighted to me that I have the tendency to do this same thing in areas of my life that have nothing to do with coffee—I don’t enjoy them because I’m preoccupied with what happened recently or what is happening next!
How can we, especially when we have full schedules, focus on and enjoy what is happening in the present moment? Here are a few approaches I’m learning to use.
How to enjoy the present moment
- Count blessings. Have you ever noticed that when you take time to name the things for which you are grateful, you tend to become very aware of the wonderful things you have in life? This heightened awareness is how counting our blessings helps us enjoy the present. After all, we have to be aware of current happenings if we’re going to savor them.
- Pay attention to little details. We often take great joy in the little things—the feel of a breeze against our skin while on a walk, the rich flavor of a cup of hot cocoa, the vibrant color of blooming flowers, etc. Actively looking for these details helps maximize our enjoyment of the present.
- Let go of the past. Though it is beneficial for us to learn from our past experiences, wallowing in regrets regarding things we wish we’d done differently is pointless. Instead, we can apply the lessons we’ve learned as we focus on what’s happening today.
- Try not to worry about the future. Worry doesn’t prevent bad things from happening. However, it does prevent us from enjoying the good things that are happening right now. God promises that He knows our needs and provides for us (Matthew 6:25-34). When we trust Him, we find freedom from worry and can fill our minds with thoughts of the present.
- Avoid comparison. It’s difficult to enjoy the current moment if we are busy contemplating how we measure up to others. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is God’s approval we seek instead of man’s (Galatians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we can focus our efforts on enjoying the present instead of comparing ourselves to others.
- Eliminate clutter. Clutter makes it difficult to focus. This is true of physical clutter (e.g., a disorganized home) and the clutter created by the technology in our lives (e.g., TV shows, email, social media). When we organize our spaces and moderate our use of electronic devices, we’re better able to engage in current happenings.
- Do less. It’s only natural to be distracted by what is happening next when our schedules become too full. Multitasking, a strategy we sometimes use to get more than one thing done at once, also results in distraction. Often the best thing for us to do is to eliminate unnecessary things from our schedules so we have time to take a deep breath and rest. It’s easier to notice and appreciate the present moment when we move at a slow pace!
Do you ever struggle to enjoy the present moment? How do you minimize distractions so you can focus on what’s happening right now?