A few weeks ago, my husband, who has had a battle with cancer this past year, had an appointment with an integrative oncologist to discuss some alternative ways to keep him healthy and in remission. Along with a green smoothie recipe and some other recommendations, Dr. Park talked a lot about stress. This was not a huge surprise as most of us now know how damaging stress can be to our bodies; however, it was how he used an example from his own life as a physician that gripped my heart. He is not a believer in Jesus, but his counsel agrees so completely with the counsel of God. Dr. Park said, “If I came into this room today fully aware and pre-occupied with the fact that there are other patients in rooms waiting for me to get to them, I would come in here worried and stressed. I would hate coming to work every day knowing that I can never keep up as I would like to. But,” he said, looking at my husband, “I choose to come in and focus on you – just you. I have learned how to simply live in the moment I am in and not the moments I can do nothing about other than worry. Stay present to the moment you are in. It will help you relieve worry and stress.”
I translated this exchange with the Dr. into spiritual terms: Stay present to God who is in this moment with you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Every moment of every day God is present to us. He doesn’t take breaks to involve Himself elsewhere. He is within us, about us, for us, and desiring to engage with us in all things. This is a great encouragement to me. And, it is a way to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). As I increase my awareness of Christ in me…continually breathing life into my experiences (good or bad, exciting or mundane), I can lessen my worry about what is next, who is waiting for me to do something, what has happened in the past, or how much work there is to be done. This awareness allows me to stop being conformed to the image of the world, but instead to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). I want to be able to stay in the moment with God’s peace and presence rather than in moments that contain stress and worry.
Here are some suggestions on how to live this out in a practical way:
Kim’s passion is to see God’s people recognize that prayer is a creative, continual moment by moment lifestyle as we align our hearts with the plans and purposes of God for His glory and the sake of His kingdom. Her ministry involves writing, teaching and consulting. She also compiles and edits HPM’s free daily devotional, Connection! and blogs regularly on the HPM website).
Kim graduated from Whitman College with teaching credentials and a BA in Psychology. She has a Masters degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University.