The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” -Exodus 33:14
The word “presence” has “made its presence” (pun intended) in my Bible reading numerous times lately. In fact, I read the Bible on the YouVersion app and I often take screen shots, circling words and verses that stand out to me. Going back through my phone, the words “present” or “presence” appeared at least twenty-five times in my readings in the past few weeks. God’s voice is loud and revealing here. He has been telling me that I need to be in His presence at all times, and now I understand part of the why.
Recently, I’ve noticed my energy dipping during times of stress and anxiety. And in thinking about “presence”, I realized how little time I actually spend in the present. My head is always spinning. Because I’m my own worst critic, I am all too guilty of looking behind me and holding onto the weight of my mistakes. As someone who wrestles with anxiety, I’m also guilty of looking forward-worrying about tomorrow. I find it very difficult to remain in the present, but that is where God is calling me to be.
Presence is the place where joy is found. Being present is being fully alive in each moment. It’s also where the peace is. And, it’s where rest is. It’s where we are right now, not ruminating over our past failures or anticipating what might happen next week. These both are exhausting and empty today of it’s energy and joy. It is the regrets of yesterday and the stresses of tomorrow that take up so much space in my mind, physically and emotionally wearing me out.
God is calling me to be present in Him, present with my loved ones, and present in life in general. When we walk in the presence of God, we are allowing His spirit to guide and shape each moment as we trust Him. We can’t walk in His presence if our thoughts are in the past or on next week. When we are present, we let go of the past and the future, and walk with Him, instead of looking behind or trying to get a sneak peek at tomorrow. Being present in Him, is about trusting and walking with Him through each moment as it comes.
It is when we live in the past or jump to the future that we actually miss out on the “now”-on what’s happening right in front of us. Therefore, let’s give Him yesterday and throw Him our worries about tomorrow so we can live right here, right now in Him. Let’s rest in His presence by fixing our eyes on the One who gives us peace and joy that the world cannot give. And let’s be present for those standing before us in this moment.
Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence. -Psalm 140:13