Choosing to Be Present in 2014

Be present It's hard to believe that 2013 has just two days left. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in the new year. I'm not much for resolutions because I think they are so easily broken, but I do like to start the new year off with an idea of what I'd like to accomplish in the next 365 days.

There's a trend going around Facebook to choose one word that represents what you want to focus on in the new year. In year's past, I've resisted boiling my goals for the year down to one word. I had no intention of choosing a word this year, but a few things happened over Christmas that made me change my mind.

We host a brunch every Christmas Eve for family and friends. As I was standing in the kitchen with my kids and parents preparing for the arrival of our friends, the heavy cover for my main kitchen light fell. No one was standing underneath it at the time, but my daughter had been standing there not 10 seconds before. If it had hit someone on the head, it would have at least caused a concussion, if not worse.

Thirty-six hours later, my parents were getting ready to go home after a fabulous Christmas Day spent together. My dad had his hands full and was walking out to the car when he slipped on some black ice, fell backwards and hit his head on our front step. He's got a 3-inch gash on the back of his head but no other damage to his body or his brain.

As I thought about how lucky we were that neither of those incidents resulted in lasting damage to anyone, I was reminded that each day is a gift. And I was reminded of how much time I squander. How often I don't pay attention when my kids or my husband are talking to me. I was convicted that each moment is precious because you never know when a slip on the ice, a broken light fixture or some other freak occurrence can grab those moments away from you -- permanently.

The Bible tells us that God has numbered our days Job 14:5 says, "A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." We don't know the number of days we're going to have with the people that we love. We don't know the day or the hour when Jesus will return, but we do know that we have today. We do know that we have these moments.

That's why for 2014, my one word is going to be "present." I want to be present in the moment. I want to savor and enjoy the precious moments I've been given with my kids, with my husband, with my extended family, with my friends, and even with the stranger in the grocery line. I want to be reminded that every moment is, indeed, a present. I want to focus on being in the moment, on grabbing every precious minute of 2014, and using it to the best of my ability.

So, this year, I'm declaring war on those things that take me out of the moment. I'm going to deliberately choose to be present. I'm going to fight against the things that distract me from being present in my relationships -- from my phone to worrisome thoughts to stress from work. My word for the year is "present" and I'm going to start choosing to be present in the moment today. Won't you join me?