all there.

photo courtesy of Taylor Schulz Photography
photo courtesy of Taylor Schulz Photography

I haven’t physically opened my Bible in more days than I can count, and I don’t have a legitimate excuse–No, I didn’t lose my Bible, and no, the pages aren’t glued shut. But I’ve been busy, I’ve made excuses, I’ve procrastinated.

And I haven’t been all here.

Lately I’ve found that I’m really bad at that–being all there.

I get so busy with school and work and soccer and dealing with other people’s lives. And while I do those things, I’m busy thinking about all I have to get done or plans I’ve made or a myriad of other things on my mind.

I’m a planner. A thinker. A worrier. I don’t know how to turn off my brain. I don’t know how to slow down and enjoy life sometimes.

Even as I type these things, I’m not fully here. My mind is light years away, worrying about the next problem on my list, thinking about what I need to do next. Yet, as I type and worry and distract myself with social media, I remember one particular walk to class one morning, just a few short months ago.

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The sky was spattered with pink cotton candy clouds, highlighted by the golden orange and pink hues of the wakening sun. The air was crisp and clear and life felt…peaceful. Like God had painted the sky specifically for me (because cotton candy skies are my favorite). And I knew in that moment that I was guilty of not enjoying life.

Do you ever feel like I do? So caught up in life that you miss the little things? 

It’s hard in today’s world, surrounded by people and technology, social media and obligations. Suddenly we don’t have time to watch the sunset or to listen to the birds’ songs. And I’m a people-pleaser, so it makes things even more messy.

I’m not all there in class because I’m busy texting people back or doing other homework (oops.)

I’m not all there at work because I’m mentally planning out what to cross off my to-do list when I’m off the clock or worrying about any assortment of topics.

I know focus is important…But being all there is hard.

It’s hard to let go of things beyond our immediate grasp to focus on what’s in front of us. It’s hard to ignore other people or problems to focus on what’s at hand. It’s hard to be still.

Yet Colossians 3:23 clearly states, Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men…” 

It doesn’t say, “Whatever you do, see how many things you can focus on at the same time…” It doesn’t say multitask. In fact, someone…that I can’t remember…once said, Multitasking is really just doing a crappy job at a lot of things at once.”

The Journals of Jim Elliot

And being all there isn’t something that happens overnight.

It takes work. It takes dedication. It’s a struggle. You’re going to fail often. And to be honest, some situations just beg for me to not be all there. Like those classes that seem pointless beyond meeting your required number of credits or that dead-end job you haven’t quit yet.

But being all there is worth it. (from what I’ve been told…I’m still really, really bad at it.)

Jim Elliot, a famous missionary, once said,

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

This quote takes on a whole new meaning when considering Elliot’s life and death–A 29 year old Christian missionary to Ecuador in the 1950s, he and four fellow missionaries were speared to death: “to the hilt” (all the way through, to the stopping point of a sword) by the very people they were attempting to minister to.

He was all in, no turning back, no backing down. And there is no doubt in my mind that he sits in a place of honor in heaven.

So will you commit with me to being like Jim Elliot, even in much less severe situations?

Be all there in conversations. All there in class or work or practice. All there in meetings. In church. In your devotions. In every situation.

No looking back. No planning for what’s ahead. No turning to the left or the right. Be in the moment. Be content where we are.

Be all there.

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