Summary: The message reflects on how often we are physically in one place, by mentally and emotionally somewhere else. It calls us to actually be, where we are.
(The following message was incubated at a seminar conducted by Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline. At that seminar, he reflected on discussions that he and Dallas Willard had shared regarding learning to actually be at the place that we physically are. Rather than a full manuscript, this was a reflective, heart to heart message with the congregation sharing our need to slow down in life, and actually experience life together.)
Today is a time of heart to heart sharing & reflection to prepare us for our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting.
The background to today’s reflection – From reading Celebration of Discipline to attending a seminar with Richard Foster.
Today we introduce the Discipline of “being where you are.”
We are a lot of places, but are we ever really anywhere? This is a discipline of actually being present.
Jesus always modeled being where He was. Giving the people his full attention and energy. Mark 5 provides an example through the woman with the issue of blood. Even in such chaos and crowd, he was able to turn his attention to her, and minister to her.
Some places we need to learn to "be where we are"
1. BE WHERE YOU ARE AT WORK, SCHOOL, AND IN YOUR COMMUNITY. (Colossians 3:22-23)
2. BE WHERE YOU ARE WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
Article: The impact of eating together
Children who do not eat dinner with their families are 61 percent more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. By contrast, children who eat dinner with their families every night of the week are 20 percent less likely to drink, smoke, or use illegal drugs.
Teens who eat frequent family dinners are less likely than other teens to have sex at young ages, get into fights, or be suspended from school, and they are at lower risk for thoughts of suicide.
Family meals also help improve school performance. A survey by Louis Harris and Associates had 2000 seniors take an academic test and answer a list of personal questions. Researchers found that "Students who regularly ate dinner with their families 4 or more times a week scored better than those who ate family dinners 3 or fewer times a week. These results crossed racial lines and were a greater indicator than whether the child was in a one or two-parent family."
Elementary students who ate regular family dinners also scored better than their peers who didn’t. Studies also found that preschoolers whose families ate together had better language skills because mealtime served as an opportunity for them to hear more spoken language and a chance to process adult conversations.
A Harvard study, of 65 children over 8 years, found that family dinners were the activity that most fostered healthy child development. Another study by Drs. Bowden and Zeisz found that "the teens who were best adjusted ate a meal with an adult in their family an average of 5.4 days a week, compared to 3.3 days for teens who didn’t show good adjustment."
The well-adjusted teens were "less likely to do drugs or be depressed and were more motivated at school and had better relationships." Dr. Bowden said, "that mealtimes were a sort of ’marker’ for other positive family attributes and seemed to play an important role in helping teens cope well with the stresses of adolescence." Having dinner as a family provides stability and communication that is important for children, even in families where problems exist.
Example: my willingness to send phone calls to voice mail when spending time with my family or friends.
3. BE WHERE YOU ARE WITH GOD. (Nehemiah 6:3)
Our time with God is a "great work."
What will we allow to interrupt our time with God?
Both getting to it and/or experiencing it.
What are some practical steps we can take towards being where we are –
Foster shared of visiting with Dallas Willard, and during their time together Willard ignored the telephone, and even ignored a knock at the door.
a. TURN OFF THE CELL PHONE.
- Or other electronic distractions
- Example: Visiting at homes where people leave their TV always on. Who are they listening to?
b. BUILD SOME BOUNDARIES INTO YOUR LIFE.
- When can’t I reach you?
- It is okay to have off-limit times.
c. POSITION YOURSELF FOR A PURPOSE.
- Example: Going out to dinner with my wife, and positioning myself so that I CAN’T see the ESPN TVs
d. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.
- Take a step back from an overly ambitious view of our self-importance
e. HELP OTHERS BE WHERE THEY ARE.
- Example: People that ask “Did I interrupt your dinner?”, and then go on with the call anyway.