Yes, it really does matter

Phil Nelson - Contributing columnist

I can recall several times as a child when I had the opportunity to hear my daddy’s very own heartbeat.

Now looking back, those special times were very rare. Not because my dad didn’t make time for me, nor desire to have that close bond with his youngest of three.

It had everything to do with what I did with each moment of time I had with my father.

It was essential that I first made the choice to actually stop and lay down the many things calling my attention, and to crawl up onto my dad’s lap. I then needed to trust that dad wasn’t going to push me away or reprimand me for wanting to get close.

Once I could rest in the comfort of my daddy’s embrace, I had to stop the wrestling and the squirming (especially the talking) and learn to be still enough to hear the thump thump, thump thump. In the calm of that moment I became captivated by the miraculous sound of what makes my dad so special.

Sadly, there are so many opportunities I missed to have more of those precious moments of peace and security with my dad because I was too distracted with all the other noise and activity going on.

What you do with the time you have, truly does matter. How you choose to perceive the circumstances that come your way, determines more than I think the average person realizes.

How you choose to think, react, and behave in response to everything going on in your world, your country, and your very own community can steer the direction of who you become.

What you do with this unprecedented time will have such an impact on how you come out of this season.

If you consider yourself a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, can I ask you a question? How long has it been since you’ve heard your Heavenly Father’s heartbeat?

If there is a time where we need the closeness and embrace of God, it’s now. Could it be that this crazy season of staying home and social distancing, could be an answer to so many prayers we have be praying for?

We pray for churches to be united and not divide by competition. This season is bringing churches and people of all denominations together to lock arms in prayer and offer love and support to a struggling and hurting community.

We pray for more time with our families and for us not be so constrained by the heavy work demands. Despite the absence of income for many, now is the time to embrace this season to draw close to family and spoil yourself with the rest and leisure you have been dreaming about for years.

We ask God to slow the merry-go-round of commitments, appointments, activities, and sports. Well, that time is here and it is now!

Will you seize the moment?

Can we trust that the things we have been praying for are the things we see come to past even in the midst of all of this? Could it be we come out of this season thanking God for the crisis?

I hope I can be a voice of encouragement to help make this moment your finest. Here a few helpful practices to slow down and get close enough to hear your Daddy’s heartbeat.

1. Prioritize moments to be still in prayer and reading the Bible. Allow passages to bring peace and hope to the storms around you.

2. Be creative in this time of social distancing in how you can stay connected to those who love you and lift you up, not drag you down.

3. Focus on the good stories happening all around you rather than the news that stirs panic and fear. At dinner each night, my wife and I sing a song with our kids, and a phrase in that song goes like this: “Count your blessings name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done.” Start counting your blessings.

4. Listen to songs that lifts you up. Music influences us more than we normally think about. Play songs that orchestrate hope, love, blessing, and joy in your life.

5. Stop the seriousness for a moment and allow yourself and your family to be silly. yes, silly! Laugh often. Have a pillow fight. Make a craft. Be goofy. Dance till you drop. Did I say laugh often? You may find it quite refreshing.

6. Just because you are ordered to stay home, doesn’t mean you can’t serve and support those around you. You can make a difference with the simple things that will encourage others, which will then help take your eyes off your current problems and concerns.

We will get through this challenging season.

However, what we do with each moment we have right now will determine how we come out of this unprecedented time.

Phil Nelson is Pastor at Elevation Community Church in Blanchester.

Phil Nelson

Contributing columnist