One of my favorite activities as a youth minister is taking students on trips, particularly summer mission trips and camping excursions. These opportunities are always memorable and almost always draw our group closer together.
One summer, I led about 30 students and adults to a summer camp in North Carolina. This was one of my first experiences in taking a group of our size out of town, and I was a bit overwhelmed. Each night I returned to my room, uploaded pictures from the day, updated parents on their kids, and went over the next day’s schedule.
Meanwhile in the common room, our boys stayed up late, usually hanging out together until I or one of the other chaperones made them go to bed. For the first couple of nights I retreated to my room for my normal routine before going to sleep. But on the third night, the boys invited me to play a game with them. I agreed to do so after I finished my routine. But by the time I finished, it was past curfew. Instead of playing the game with the boys, I made them to go bed.
The next morning, it hit me that all of my plotting and organizing each night was causing me to miss out on the real ministry opportunities right in front of me. I decided that day that I would stop stressing about tomorrow’s schedule and simply be present with the youth every chance I had.
Sometimes life’s most significant moments are happening right in front of us without us even knowing it. And perhaps the reason we don’t know this is because we’re constantly plotting and arranging the future. Jesus calls us to slow down and appreciate the everyday moments right before us. Most of the time, these seemingly insignificant, mundane moments are what make life worth living.
How can you slow down and just be present today?
Gracious God, give us eyes to see and ears to hear your call to savor each moment life has to offer us. Amen.