Recognizing God’s Presence
Do you ever wonder what the smile of God looks like? Have you ever really sat with Him and asked what He likes most about the trees? Do you know what His favorite part about you is? Too often we get caught up in working, doing, and running the good Christian race and we forget to stop. We forget to stop and experience the smile of a loving father. We can become so absorbed in living for Him, that we can forget to live with Him. The routine of our culture has become a compelling urge to never stop doing, serving, or achieving. It can lead us to a place where it becomes easier to continue trying to love a broken world rather than stopping and letting Him love the broken places of our hearts.
Recently I’ve noticed how hard it can be to stop and give God the space that allows Him to love me in the way He desires. It’s not just about giving thirty minutes for Bible reading, a few prayer request, and a list of daily updates but rather carving out space to give Him freedom to move in our lives in His own way. It often feels selfish to take that kind of time when you could be doing something more. In the endless race of life, there is always one more ‘something’ that needs to be done. The constant demands for achievement and busyness leave us pushing our time to be present in His presence further down the list. This is not the way we were called to live. We weren’t meant to be filled up by an encounter with God and then run until we are on empty. Rather we’re created to live a life where we are so in-tune with the heartbeat of God that we know when it is time to run, time to serve, and time to rest. We are called to live out of the overflow of His love in our lives. So how do we do it? How do you live out of the wildly abundant love and grace of God? Instead of giving a lecture on how to be more present with God I’ve decided to provide activities to help you bring your heart out of the constant routine of busyness, to enjoy God and open up space for Him to move in your life in a new way this year. It’s never too late to break out of the mold our culture has set before us and go after the promises for life, intimacy, and freedom.
Get Quiet & Get Outside
Sit and just rest in His presence, drinking in the beauty of His creation. No music, no conversation, no worries, or anxieties, just sitting and being with Him. This can actually be more difficult than you’d think, so don’t get discouraged if it’s difficult at first. When our days are so crammed full of to-do-list, and everyone else’s needs, this is often what our heart needs the most. Time spent with God is not something to be checked off the list but rather what our days should formulate around.
Ask Him Questions
Asking God questions creates the most beautiful and lively conversations. You discover things about the world, people, and yourself that you could’ve never learned on your own. God is kind and good and wants to show you the beauty He’s placed in this world. Start by asking what He thinks about you and then just listen. When you ask Him a question, always give the space for Him to answer. He will never tear you down but will always build you up and call you higher; so don’t fear His answers because they are always full of love.
Do Something Mundane With Him
If you cannot see God in everything, then you might be missing something. God is so incredibly intentional and wants to be a part of every inch of your day. Bring Him into the seemingly mundane things and have a conversation; do this while you scrub toilets, cook dinner, or pay bills. What are His thoughts on the ordinary tasks in your life?
Go on a Date with God
Believe it or not, God wants to do more with you than read your Bible and journal. We need to break out of the mold and go on adventures with the creator of the universe. Discover this world as He sees it to be. Let Him teach and show you things that you’ve never thought about or noticed before. Get coffee, go hiking, or even go to the beach… and be present with Him in it.
*Just to clarify I’m not saying to stop reading your Bible. Just don’t let that be the only thing you do with Him.
At the end of the day, being present is a discipline that can not be taught, for it must be learned through consistent experiential encounters with the Father. As we move into the new year, it is my heart to help you shift the way you interact with God in your quiet times, so you can reach the fullness of what He has for you this year. Engaging your heart in the journey Christ has you on is so incredibly important. From your heart flows the wellspring of life and we can’t let that spring be clogged with the perpetual need to do. Good luck on your journey toward presence and let us know how it goes!