When I was a young mom, juggling life with my three lively kids was a master class in relentless living. From the moment I awoke to the time I fell into bed, it seemed I was constantly on the go – whizzing between school, music lessons, and sports activities.
Although I love being a mom, during those days, I often found myself looking forward to a time when things would quiet down, and I’d have more time for other interests. I’d have more time to enjoy crafts, relax on the beach without being asked to build sandcastles, or spend an afternoon in a hammock with a book. I also began to realize that I was putting my spiritual development on hold too.
And it gradually dawned on me that life would always be busy. Sure, my kids would grow up and become independent, but other priorities would crowd in, making my life just as full. I was wishing my life away by waiting for a better future.
So, I began to focus more on learning to live in the moment – living as fully as I could by making the most of every opportunity. Even in snatched moments, I could intentionally connect with God throughout my day. To help you learn from my experience, here are a few ways I tried to live in the moment when life was busy.
Make the most of your time
It’s not always easy to find chunks of time for prayer or Bible study, but it helps to make the most of what time you have. For example, playing worship songs or praise music on your commute will give you a daily opportunity to connect with God, and if the kids are with you, so much the better. My (now adult) children still listen to worship music we played on our commutes.
Listen to spiritual audio books, inspiring podcasts, or even Bible readings while you walk the dog, wait at the garage, or soothe a fretful baby to sleep. Adding these words and sounds of inspiration will incorporate a spiritual element to routine activities.
Share the burden
Life can feel overwhelming if you try to go it alone. You could take a walk around your neighborhood with a friend (or group of friends) and pray or discuss spiritual matters. I found that praying for my work colleagues became easier when my coworkers and I met over lunch once a week to pray. Or start a book club and focus on a spiritual concern you share.
If you have kids, why not free up some time by sharing childcare with a friend? From the time my daughter was a few weeks old, my friend and I took turns watching our kids for one morning each week, giving us both a few precious hours to shop alone (what a luxury!), have some quiet time with God, or occasionally, just sleep.
Kids often notice beauty in things we don’t see. I remember my toddler crouched for ages, watching an oil slick “rainbow” in the road that I had totally missed. While watering my plants last week, I was transfixed by a procession of newly hatched spiders ascending a single silken thread before drifting away on the wind. Even in the city streets, there’s always something to inspire: a golden sunset, kids playing with a water fountain, or the beauty of a solitary tree.
Practice chatting with God
I’ve gradually been learning to share small, everyday moments with God, such as inhaling the scent of sweet peas or watching swallows feeding their nestlings in our garage. I thank him for the beauty of his creation, the exuberance of kids playing, or the notes in a lovely piece of music. Now, I consciously pause in gratitude when I notice all the secret beauty of our world, rather than rushing heedlessly through my day trying to complete my to-do list.
End the day with God
After an exhausting day, it’s tempting to collapse into bed with my latest good read (or simply fall asleep), but I’ve found that taking a few moments to pray is helping to change my perspective. Sometimes, I’ll use the Examen prayer to help me review my day. Sometimes, I’ll pray an evening prayer. And sometimes, I’ll just meditate on what’s happened that day. I may pray for someone I’ve met or a situation that’s bothering me. Doing an evening meditation, keeping a gratitude journal, or listening to relaxing music are all ways to be more present to everything you experienced that day.
With the help of these practices, I’m learning that by gradually focusing more on God in the “little” moments, I’m making the most of every opportunity. I’m finding I have a greater awareness of God’s presence with me at all times. Maybe finding God in the small moments will help you too.