Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Goal-Setting for 2018
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Proverbs 4:25
Good morning Prayer Team!
One of the biggest challenges in life it seems is being present. And personally, I put the biggest blame for this on social media and phones. The temptation to look at the phone is so great it distracts us from just about everything. It distracts us from driving and makes getting in accidents increasingly more likely. The temptation to look at the phone or put things on social media distracts us from work. It makes us less productive. At the end of the day, when we haven’t gotten our work done, we either go home having not put in a full day (and in turn stealing from our bosses and cheating our co-workers and clients), or we have to stay late or take work home, which cheats our families, and cheats us out of needed rest.
Not only has the phone, the internet and social media detracted from our work ethic, it has eroded our social skills. Instead of talking, we text. Instead of confronting, we write off a caustic email. Instead of being truthful, we hide behind a screen. Every time I go to a restaurant, I look around and see people texting rather than talking to the person or people at their table. I recently gave someone a ride and they were texting in the car and we carried on very little conversation.
It’s like we are all in the presence of others but not present with them. Or we are sitting at our desk at work but are not “present” when it comes to actually working.
Only 1% of what we are trying to convey comes across in written word. About 10% comes from tone of voice, which you don’t get in text. And about 90% comes through body language.
In trying to build relationships, work on being present in conversation. In working at your job, be “present” at work, not just in body but in mind. Put in an honest day’s work. If you are supposed to “quit” at 5, work until 5. If you are your own boss and work seems like it is never done, set a quitting time for yourself each day, work hard until that time and then go home guilt-free. What many of us do (even I do it occasionally) is that we get distracted with the internet or the phone and we aren’t as productive as we could or should be, and then we take work home that we should have finished at the office or we leave the office later than we needed to.
And one last temptation we all fall to at times—we think about what is in the future more than what we are doing at present. I’m not talking about the far future, like retirement or sending kids to college. There are times when I have a big event in the afternoon and in the evening and I spend the morning worrying about that activity and am not as present as I could be at work or with people in the morning. Many a morning I celebrate Divine Liturgy knowing that I have a full slate of things in the afternoon. It is very easy to “tune out” mentally from liturgy and think about what it coming next. It is very difficult and it takes discipline to stay focused on worship and prayer and not let other thoughts creep in. And it is very difficult to stay present when the near (and far) future has something stressful (or even exciting) on the horizon. As we set our goals for 2018, make “being present” one of them.
Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Help me to be present in each moment of it. When it is time to work, help me to stay on task. When it is time to relax, help me to put away the burden of the day. Help me to stay present and focused in conversations. Thank You Lord for the gift of this day—I will rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.
All we have in life is this moment. The past is gone. The future is not guaranteed. So don’t live in the past or think only of the future (though planning is good). Be present!!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: Lolly Daskal
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