If you read my last entry, “Swipe left” (if you haven’t, pause and read it now, then come on back!), you may be wondering, “So, when do we get to swipe right?”. Well, the obvious answer, is any thought that is good, wholesome, uplifting, kind, positive, etc. gets a swift swipe to the right. But this week, as I was putting my inner swiping APP into practice, I came across some thoughts that I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with. They weren’t bad thoughts, so swiping left didn’t seem fair.
In dating world, you swipe right when you want to revisit someone’s profile at a later point. You are categorizing people either as potential future dating material or a hard and fast “no chance” to the left (nothing like basing your relational happiness on looks, right?). You then sit down and look a little closer into the self-described profile for similarities and intrigue and then keep or reject those also. This is how I would encourage you to view any thought that pulls you away from the present. Is it realistic to expect that while I am working out at 6:15 in the morning I won’t think about tasks that are coming up that day? Probably not. But as they come up, I can acknowledge them and swipe them to the right, revisiting them when I get to work and have time to give them my full attention.
We should not be surprised by the tendency to let our minds wander to tasks/worries/obligations/fears that have nothing to do with what we are doing at the present moment. There is so much to distract us in this world. We tend to idolize people who can multi-task. They seem efficient and successful. But when we are doing one thing while being preoccupied with another, we literally miss out on actual life. I once heard the phrase, “Where we are is our only option just now.”
Sometimes I actually plan to do one thing while thinking about something else! I will plan to write a blog in my head or figure out vacation plans while I am working out or sitting in a meeting I am supposed to be paying attention to. I will plan to go to my kid’s sporting event and take books to catch up on whenever my kid isn’t playing 😏. Sometimes it’s not too big of a deal. But other times, it absolutely robs me of connecting with people I love. Sometimes I am sitting with a friend for coffee and thinking about the people I need to get in touch with regarding seeing houses. Or I am hanging with my husband but not really present because I am fretting over my future and whether or not I will do this or that next week. You get the idea. It’s not that I never need to consider the thoughts that are distracting me from being fully in the moment with who is in front of me. They are often important and necessary. But I create much stress and anxiety for myself when I am not fully engaged in the present. I can’t embrace what God has brought my way if I am rehearsing or regretting what has already occurred or strategizing and worrying about what might occur in the future.
So-add this to your practice. When thoughts arise that are legitimate and need further analysis, swipe those suckers to the right. Save them for later. Save them for a time when you can sit and give them your undivided attention. Don’t let them drag you out of the present or keep you from experiencing life on life’s terms. Practice the art of living in the now.
Swipe right, my friends.