Mindfulness Day 1: Mindfulness with Your Family
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, ESV)
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8, ESV)
This week we’re going to study the topic of mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply being aware of what you are experiencing and feeling in the moment. I do not want to cross the line where the discussion goes into meditation, so you can think of this as a study on being present. You will notice that the first reading of every day is the same story in Luke 10; this is because I think this section of verses does a great job of showing two sisters whose minds and bodies were in very different places. Today, we’ll be looking at the idea of mindfulness with our families.
You come home from work, and the second you walk through the door you want to drop your stuff on the floor, plop down on the couch and relax. Maybe you are tired of the craziness of the kids running around and you just want to close yourself off in your room, shut your eyes and get some rest. Maybe you are with your family, but you are all just staring at devices instead of talking. There are many ways in our modern society for us not to be present with our families, both physically and mentally.
Being physically present with our families may seem like it shouldn’t be that difficult, but there is certainly effort required and sacrifices that need to be made. When I think back to my days of playing high school basketball, I don’t remember many of the scores, the game sequences, or anything like that (though at the time, other than getting more playing time, that’s all I cared about). Rather, the thing that sticks out to me the most is looking up into the stands and seeing my dad there at every game, in his Drexel Dragons sweatshirt. It didn’t matter if the game was 45 minutes away and I was hardly going to play—he was there. It’s amazing how something so simple can stick with you all those years.
Needless to say, it’s important for us to be physically present with our families: at the dinner table, at the dance recital, at the sporting event, at the church service, at the park, at the graduation ceremony, whatever the case may be. We owe it to our families to be there, and we should want to be there. It may mean sacrificing personal time, losing out on a little bit of sleep, shelling out a few bucks, or having to log online after the kids are in bed to get in a full day’s work, but the rewards will be immense. How great it is to just be there for our families.
The more difficult part likely is being mentally present with our families. While we may be physically present, it is all too easy for our minds to be at the office, at the game, on the internet, or pretty much anywhere else. If we are not mentally present with our families, we are robbing them of our love and attention. The more time we spend there—in the moment—the greater the memories will be and the deeper the relationship will grow. We owe it to ourselves and to our families to be mentally present.
It is impossible to be 100% physically and mentally present in every moment, but it should be our goal to find those pockets of time when we can be. Letting go of everything else going on in life to spend time with our families will do much more good than thinking about that email we need to send later. Just as Mary sat at the feet of the Lord Jesus and listened to His teaching, we need to strive to be physically and mentally present with our families.