Most mornings I take our dog for a brisk walk to tire her out and burn off some of that puppy energy. It’s usually fairly fast paced, and I try to limit her stopping and sniffing around as much as possible so we can accomplish that goal.
A few mornings ago we started our walk, and being the creature of habit that I am, we turned right out of my driveway and headed on the same path we take every morning. The nice thing about this path is that we always pass a beautiful maple tree planted along the sidewalk. Every year during the fall season its leaves change a brilliant red orange color and begin to drop along the grass and nearby walkway. This year was no different.
As we neared the tree my sweet pup decided that she needed to do her business right at this spot so as you would imagine, I stopped to give her ample time to do her thing. As I fumbled around with the eco-friendly, biodegradable poop bag in my hand trying to accomplish the impossible task of finding the right end to open and then actually open it, I happened to look down at the ground where I was standing.
Forming a gorgeous blanket under my feet were hundreds of leaves in every shade of fall yumminess that you can imagine. You could almost smell the pumpkin spice latte aroma in the scene set underneath me. I was literally stopped dead in my tracks.
I stood for a few moments more admiring the brilliance of the leaves and the sheer beauty of God’s creation. It was then that I felt God whisper something in my heart. “Stop rushing and just BE WHERE YOU ARE.”
It hit me like a gentle ton of bricks. Be where I am. Enjoy the present, and don’t rush into or worry about the future. So I stood there, holding a bag of poop, and allowed myself to stop and breathe.
I immediately began reevaluating my day and my mindset about my week. Where I was allowing myself to excessively plan every moment and rigidly stick to that plan, I decided to ask God how He wanted me to spend my time that day.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Was I really allowing God to determine my steps or was I trying to tell Him what I thought I should do that day? Was I truly being in the present and noticing the little gems He was placing all around me, or was I too worried about the next day, and the next?
It was a reminder for me to be flexible with my “schedule”. Have plans, goals, and be organized, yes. But ultimately give those plans up to Him and be free to move and adjust accordingly. Because oh yeah, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our DAILY bread…” not give us this day our weekly or even monthly bread.
BE WHERE YOU ARE whether that’s a 24 hour period or a season of your life. There’s purpose and beauty in that moment if you’re willing to stop and notice it.
That’s why it’s called the “present”, because it’s a gift.