Welcome to the Live More Carry Less Blog: by Journey Coach Erin Wiley



Have you noticed how challenging it's becoming to be fully present in the present? 

We are constantly distracted by an inundation of information. When we watch the news, newer news is delivered to us simultaneously beneath the picture on a crawl. Our smartphones constantly barter for our attention when we are with family, friends, or at work. Advertisers trace our online movements to interrupt our chosen content with targeted marketing. 

In fact, go into any store, and you will find an ad campaign urging you to focus on a future that has yet to arrive. Last summer, I walked into my local CVS and was greeted by an array of items for sale commemorating the upcoming holiday season, which at that time was more than 4 months away. 

And now that the Christmas season is upon us, we not only have to juggle the increasing stream of outside information vying for our focus. We must also contend with the marketing and commercialization that attempts to divert our attention from the real reason we celebrate Christmas. While navigating any anxiety, stress, and melancholy the holidays can sometimes bring. 

Look, I don't mean to sound melodramatic. But we live in an era and culture constantly robbing us of the only thing that truly exists: the present. And though the holiday's busyness, commercialism, and familial complexities often work to keep us distracted. There are THREE CHOICES we can make to ensure we are Fully Present for the greatest gift of this holiday season.  



Many of us miss out on precious time with family or friends, lamenting about an offense or mistake from the past. Spending time rehashing a long-ago hurt, reliving the offense of what someone said or did, and wondering what would be different if only this or that had happened is futile. 

Yes, there is a time to mourn hurt or disappointment. But there is also a time for forgiveness and leaving the past in the past. 

Whether an offense happened 5 minutes, 5 months, or 15 years ago, it's still the past, and we can't change the past because we don't live there; we live here, in the present. But that's the good news because your power does not exist in the past to change it. Your power exists in the present through Christ to overcome it, create needed boundaries if necessary, and make new memories with loved ones. Spending all of your time rehashing a moment that no longer exists only robs you of the moment that does. 



Many of us are not fully immersed in our lives because we are waiting for some event or breakthrough to happen in the future. 

How often have you put off a social engagement, travel, or love because you were waiting to be thinner, richer, or whatever you thought tomorrow might bring? 

God promised us many things in His word. He promised to comfort us, be with us, and work all things together for our good. But He never promised us tomorrow. So it's foolish to keep our minds fixated on something that isn't even here yet. I'm not saying you should stop planning for the future because that would also be foolish. What I am proposing is that we are not so focused on the future that we don't take the time to appreciate all that is. 

Years ago, I was at a live music concert with some friends during a time when I had gained more weight than I was comfortable with. I would love to tell you that I was completely present for every glorious moment of that event, but I wasn't. I spent the bulk of the evening in my head, embarrassed by my weight gain and devising plans of what I could possibly do in the future to get back to my former size. 

I was surrounded by good friends and perfect strangers, all cheering, singing, and dancing to a fantastic band. And I missed it. Joy was flowing through the air like oxygen, and instead of taking it in, I chose to fixate on something that, at that very moment, I could not change. 

I was so focused on a tomorrow that was not promised that I let the now that was given slip away unappreciated.



How many times have you been somewhere and been more engaged with your phone than what was actually happening around you? Nowadays, it seems if we are not capturing a pic or video of a moment and posting it to social media, we think we are missing out on something. 

Last year, I was at my cousin's wedding. It was a special event because he was the bachelor of the family, and I wanted to capture the magic moment for posterity, so I watched most of his wedding through the lens of my smartphone while taping. During the ceremony, I felt the spirit of God say, "Put down your phone, be here." And when I did, I was engaged in the beauty of the event in a way I could have never experienced while trying to 'capture' it.

Each day is a gift, that's why they call it the present. And your present will remain unopened until you immerse yourself in it without diversion. 

Likewise, as we draw close to Christmas day, we must not be distracted by what this season isn't about. Christmas is not about a quaint town where a career girl finds love in the arms of a rugged local do-gooder. It is not about going into debt purchasing presents to prove your love or feeling guilty because you don't have the money to buy many presents. And though it is a blessing to do so, it is also not about spending time with family and friends. 

Christmas is about our great need for the divine gift of hope and redemption that was given in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, Christ the Lord. 

It's about "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."

-Luke 2:8-14

Now that's a Gift worth being PRESENT for. 


The Unopened Present is written by: Erin Wiley Sands,
Author of The Dunes, and the creator of Live More Carry Less.


Live More Carry Less is an immersive faith-centered online journey that helps you release Old Fears, Old Hurts and Old Habits, to step out of your comfort zone and transform your life.

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