Choosing to Thrive in My Circumstances

PART X

Choose to Show Up

Boy alone in a classroom
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Numbers 16:16

And Moses said to Korah,
“Be present, you and all your company, before the Lord.”

My Spiritual Father has a saying: 80% of life is just showing up. When you show up, there is the possibility for good things to happen. There is, of course, the possibility that bad things can happen as well. However, when we don’t show up, nothing happens. Here are some examples:

  1. Go to school and there is a possibility that a student will learn and succeed. There is also a possibility that a student might fail. Stay home in bed and there is no opportunity for anything.
  2. Go to work and there is a possibility that a worker will contribute something positive to the world. There is also an opportunity that a worker might make a mistake. Stay home in bed and there is no opportunity for anything.
  3. Go to church to worship (or pray privately) and there is a possibility that the worshipper will connect with community and have a meaningful experience of God. There is also a possibility that the experience is boring. However, never go to church and never pray and it is very likely you’ll not have a meaningful experience of God.

Showing up makes things possible. Not necessarily successful, but possible.

We live in a world where people are not showing up, literally and metaphorically. There are many people who now have decided they don’t want to work. Some have decided they can somehow get by without a job—they stay home and hope for government support. There are others who have jobs, who “show up” to work every day but they come late, leave early, and when they are there, they don’t make much of an effort. It seems that fewer and fewer arrive early, stay late and work for the intrinsic value of work. We’re becoming okay with mediocrity when it comes to productivity and attitude. And what God calls us to is excellence.

People don’t show up for one another either. The phone has become a constant distraction. When a friend is pouring out their heart and soul to you, because they are really in a struggle, do we look the friend in the eye, totally “with them” or do we have one eye (or both) down on the phone, so that a friend feels disconnected from instead of “with” someone.

Choosing to thrive means choosing to show up, and sometimes that is only in body, not in spirit, and that’s okay. Not every day, or every situation, or every worship service or every conversation is going to be spectacular. Between the “peaks” of success, there will be many valleys of failure. However, we don’t get to the peak without climbing out of the valley. Focus today on being present and showing up. Show up on time. Show up with a smile. Show up with optimism. Show up with a desire for excellence. We can’t control much of anything except for ourselves. And we absolutely can control whether we show up or not.

One can make the lowest of salaries and still show up and give an effort.

One can feel the furthest away from God and still show up and pray or worship.

One can have suffered defeat yesterday and still show up to “play the game” today.

God rewards effort, not necessarily success. Because one cannot be successful every day at everything. The success of certain things lies beyond our control—for instance I plan to paint the outside of the house today and it rains so I can’t do that. However, effort is always within our control.

“Being present” is becoming a greater and greater challenge. Because there are more distractions than ever in the world. Many of us push the envelope when it comes to getting enough sleep (I’m guilty) and so we’re tired and dragging and that makes it hard to concentrate all day. Many of us have the phone next to us all the time (I’m also guilty) and we are constantly looking at it. Many of us are paid to work 8 hours a day but in reality we work much less, because we are inefficient or distracted. Think about all the productivity that is lost because we are not “present.”

Show up, give a good effort, and be present. And you’ll be on your way to thriving in whatever circumstance you find yourself in.

Prayer for Being Present

Lord, thank You for the day You have blessed me with.

Help me to be present in all things today, to show up for responsibilities, for friends and most especially for You.

Whether today ends up being extraordinary or mundane, help me to see opportunities to serve You and others in it, and help me to use the talents that You have given me to the best of my ability today, and always. Amen.

Show up for God. Show up for work. Show up for one another. Show up.

+Fr. Stavros

More articles from Fr. Stavros' series on
"Choosing to Thrive in My Circumstances"

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    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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0


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Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0

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