We claim to trust God, taking our concerns to Him in prayer. Affirming our belief in His sovereignty, we say we have no fear for tomorrow. Yet anxiety is just as rampant in the church as it is in the secular realm. Not only that, but we complain about everything from the weather to the inconvenience of traffic during the morning commute. Instead of welcoming the moments God gives, we push them away.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
if god is good why do we ignore him?
As Christians we affirm our belief that God is good, while at the same time complaining about a recent setback. I am guilty as charged, as I hear words of complaint leave my mouth at a simple inconvenience. Despite spending time in prayer to start my day, I’ll end up in complete overwhelm over the very concerns I “left” with God earlier. If we really believe God is good, why do we struggle in welcoming the moments God gives?
Recently as I battled anxiety over a particular issue, I reminded myself that God was “good”. I reasoned if He was good, I didn’t need to fear the outcome of the situation I faced. But I noticed I was edgy and wary of each event of the day. My anxiety was not assuaged, instead it pointed out that God’s idea of good was not my idea of good. In fact God’s good almost always meant trial. When in this state of mind, I push away the moments fearing they will hold something I don’t want. Ultimately, I push God away and increase the suffering in my mind.
rejecting the moments god gives, blinds us to god
We live in an uncertain world situation. An environment of injustice, racism and political strife that fuels unrest and murder. We remain uneasy about the outcome of the pandemic, fearing for the safety of the vulnerable in society. Even efforts at dialogue remind us that love and respect are not the norm in our society anymore. This gives us many reasons to reject the moments we face daily.
The problem with refusing the especially hard moments God gives, is that we are blinded to God in that moment. We cannot see the path forward God chooses for us. Without realizing it, we increase our anxiety and limit our resources for spiritual growth. Welcoming the moments God gives empowers us to act effectively in any situation by the Holy Spirit.
using mindfulness to welcome each moment
Most of us have a hard time accepting life, saying “yes” to what comes our way. As God orchestrates the moments of our days, we tend to reject or ignore them. But Mindfulness gives us a new option to welcome them. Through mindfulness we can extend an intentional, open welcome to each moment. Welcoming the moments God gives without first waiting for each moment to prove itself worthy.
Consider incorporating a mindfulness routine into your day. I like to begin my day with mindful breathing, while sitting quietly focusing on my breath. Then I allow my thoughts to drift into prayer, starting with a time of gratitude. I then allow my thoughts to shift towards God’s presence with me. By the end of my time my thoughts are no longer racing, my heart rate is calm and I am ready to begin my day. If my day takes a turn for the worst, I make time for another 10 minute mindfulness session to ground myself in the present and stop the anxiety cycle.
Mindfulness Morning Routine
This is the routine I use at the start of my day before my Bible reading. I find a quiet place to sit, and with eyes closed, begin the steps below.
- 20 Breaths. I talk about this more in this post, but this is a simple breathing technique designed to help you focus on your breath. When you focus on your breath, you remain in the present moment. Maintain deep, calm breathing through each of the remaining steps.
- Gratitude. Spend a few moments in gratitude for whatever naturally comes to your mind. Don’t force it, and don’t be mundane. Just focus your thoughts on the word gratitude, or ask the question in your mind, “what am I grateful for in this moment?” Let it come to you.
- Prayer. After the time of gratitude, gently move your thoughts to prayer. Again, let this come naturally, this isn’t the time to whip out your prayer list. Your main concerns and fears will come to mind. Confidently visualize placing them in the Lord’s hands.
- God’s Presence. Finally, let your thoughts drift to God’s presence with you. You can focus on a particular attribute of God, or just sit quietly allowing His presence to be real to you.
In the morning I end my mindfulness routine with Bible reading. Since I started the mindfulness routine, I noticed my Bible reading time is more productive. My mind is quiet, I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice and more focused on what I am reading. If I skip the mindfulness segment, my mind tends to wander, and I am not focused on what I am reading.
You can incorporate this same routine throughout the day, especially if you find your day spiraling out of control. Of course it varies for everyone, but the total routine takes about 10-15 minutes. Who doesn’t have 10-15 minutes to spare, especially if it means the difference between a meltdown and a calm view of things? I also enjoy a variation of this for an evening routine which promotes good, restful sleep.
scripture helps for welcoming the moments god gives
When we struggle in welcoming the moments God gives, anxiety is the most frequent result. Anxiety is based in fear and fear is rooted in unbelief. When we push away or ignore the moments God offers us, we demonstrate unbelief. Scripture gives us a powerful weapon to fight unbelief. I think of mindfulness as helping me get my footing when I’m in the grip of anxiety. Then I use specific scripture promises to work through the unbelief my anxiety is demonstrating.
I’m sharing a few of the specific promises that I use to battle anxiety in my life. You may find these helpful if you struggle in the same areas. Otherwise they can represent an example of how to use scripture in this way and inspire you to find your own.
Do not be anxious for anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.Philippians 4:6
Ammunition Against Anxiety
- Anxiety about my ability to accomplish my work. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9
- Anxiety about future decisions. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” Psalm 32:8
- Anxiety over health issues. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” Psalm 34:19
- Anxiety over something unfamiliar or a new trial. “Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you for I am your God….” Isaiah 41:10
- Anxiety over gossip. “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
- Anxiety over my my adult children. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19
- Anxiety over finances. “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” Matthew 6:31-32
welcoming the moments god gives
God gives us every moment of every day. These moments comprise instances, encounters, words spoken to us, words spoken by us, things we see, news received and given. All of the small moments of each day involve choices for us. While we may view some moments as mundane or even a nuisance, every moment sifts through God’s hands to us with purpose.
When we say “yes” to these moments of our day, we say “yes” to God, by fully experiencing the moment in our bodies and hearts. Welcoming the moments God gives, cultivates wisdom as we pause to welcome what is before us. It opens the door for God to teach us how to respond in ways that nourish and build up not only ourselves but others. In the end, we also learn welcoming the moments God gives, provides grace to experience goodness in the midst of pain.