A few days ago, a dear friend of mine shared with me three questions that a mutual friend used to center herself. I was talking to Beth about this, but couldn't remember two of the three questions. I did recall that one dealt with being present. Beth and I formulated three questions of our own that I've been using the last several days. They've been helpful. They are:
- Am I At Peace? Do I trust God with all my worries and with my soul (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:6-7). Beth shared with me the image of a pebble being dropped into a calm pond. The pond responds perfectly to the pebble - or the boulder - and then returns to its previous calm. When we are at peace with God, our responses to trouble can be measured and appropriate. If we do not have that peace, then we are absorbed with self and our precarious situation. If we do not have that peace, then the best that we can come up with another is either a deceived calm or an act.
- Am I Present? Having peace from and with God, I am then in a position of strength. With that strength, I can afford to focus wholly on either the person in front of me or on the task that is serving the person who is not present. The vertical must enable the horizontal. The past is gone or is covered by Christ's cross. The future I can trust to God, for I cannot control it now. But I have been given the gift of being able to focus on the right now.
- Am I Purposed? Since we are both at peace and present for the other or for the task, we can be intentional in the moment. We are able to move most fully out of our love for God and for the other (Matthew 22:37-39). God's love purifies and focuses us.