Monday, May 7, 2012

Learning To Be

Usually the first verb you learn in a new language is "to be." It is the foundation for all other verbs and conjugations, but it also stands by itself to mean exist, occupy, occur, identity, represent, signify, etc. 

"Be" is such a simple word but complex concept.

From the beginning, God calls himself "I Am":
"God said to Moses, 'I am who I am.' And he said, 'Say this to the people of Israel, I am has sent me to you.’” -Exodus 3:14
 "I am who I am" can also be translated as "I will be what I will be."

It's evident that learning the meaning of "to be" is fundamental to who we are. We were created in the image of God, so we too are intended to reflect this state of "being." Not in a hippy, yoga way (though I do love yoga), but in a way that is being present. 

I talk a lot about being embraced by the journey (hence the blog name), and a large part of this is about being present where you are. It's often said that the journey is more important than the destination. But what does this look like? How do we put "being present" into practice?

Being present is something that I am just beginning to learn. As a goal-oriented and achievement-driven person, I want to know that what I am doing fits into a larger purpose. 

But life change often doesn't happen through programs or strategies or goals. These are the methods not the meaning. Lives change through relationships. Through being with someone. 

Treat someone to coffee this week... for the conversation not just the caffeine 

Being present is probably the simplest yet hardest concept to practice. 
It is intentionally pouring all you have into where you are now.

I'm learning that I don't need to know how to fix the failing schools of Atlanta. I need to know the students. I don't need to know how to revitalize my entire neighborhood. I need to know my neighbors. 

Invest where you are, whether you see yourself there in the future or not. Be present by being known. Be present by living intentionally for your present, not for your future. You'll never reach your future because it's always ahead, always the destination. But you're in your present now, on the road, on the journey.

In an individualistic, isolated existence often extolled in America, being present and being known is transformative. For yourself and for others. 


  1. Steph - I love your blog. Just a quick tip though. I read it in Google Reader and the light green font is really hard to read on a white screen. I never thought about those things before I was a blogger but now that I read everything in RSS, I try to give others a heads up (Mine was horrible when I first saw it in RSS form).

    1. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention- I had no idea! As soon as I'm back from vacation in June, I'm going to work on this.