“We are here for only a moment,
visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us.
Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace.”
1 Chronicles 29:15 NLT
In any given season of life, I consider myself blessed if I can learn and retain [at least] one solid life lesson to carry forward into the next seasons. The most recent one that I hope to use many, many times in life is the method I’m going to call “The Box.”
The Box is the perfect visual aid for those times when I’ve got one million and one things flying around my heart and mind yet my focused attention is needed elsewhere. It was shared with me as an exercise that allows me to be fully present when I need to be, regardless of other pressing stressors.
1: Grab an empty box (shoebox or something of similar size).
2: Picture each individual mental stressor as a tangible object.
3: Put each object in the box.
4: Keep each object in the box. RESIST the urge to take them out and lament or stress over them.
5: Close the box.
6: Put the box on the highest shelf in the darkest corner of your dustiest closet.
7: Close the closet door.
8: Go be present! (The box will still be there for you when you return and you can sort through it then.)
It seems like a ridiculous process at first, and it certainly isn’t a cure-all, but the amount of contagious joy and fulfillment that results from being present makes even the silliest process – if effective – so worth it!
As I wrapped up reading the book of 1 Chronicles this past week, I got to witness the awesome way King David was present. Being present seemed to come as naturally as breathing for him! Many times the Bible has already drawn attention to his joy and heart for God and it is so perfectly exhibited in the way he worships. He casts aside every single inhibition and dances with joy before the LORD! He is so present that he doesn’t even try to physically contain his attitude of praise and worship. He was not without very real stressors, yet when he assembles his people, it isn’t the stress that he speaks about. Instead, he leads the people in worshipping God through a generous group offering and a prayer of praise. Verse 15 holds the key concept of the spiritual equivalent to – no, BETTER VERSION of – YOLO:
“We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” (1 Chronicles 29:15)
Our life is truly only a moment. We are strangers and our days are but a shadow. What a perfect filter to focus my heart on what matters. Even those stressors that I let consume my thoughts are GONE – the whole box of them along WITH the closet – when I consider this perspective.
And then God uses David to share with us what we are to do with our present state:
“O LORD, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you. See to it that their love for you never changes.” (1 Chronicles 29:18)
My moment’s existence is best spent in obedience and love for God. That box can stay in that dark corner of that closet for whatever time my shadow has left. God’s got it!
Challenge: Spend 5 minutes each day this week being fully present with God. Every week thereafter, increase the time away from The Box by one minute.
Dear LORD, I am so thankful that you give me a moment here on earth to learn how to love and obey you. Help me keep my troubles and worries in a box that you keep in your care. Give me the ability to see my time as YOURS right here and right now. Amen.