Slow Down

Presence: It’s a hot topic in my world. In a previous post a few months ago, I mentioned that this theme was popping up over and over in my quiet time with God. About the same time that this word presence first made its presence, I wrestled with God regarding my addiction to caffeine. It was a tough addiction to shake. Having chronic illnesses that cause an abnormal amount of fatigue, it was easy to justify my coffee consumption. My Dr. was even on board with two cups a day. So, when I felt like God was telling me to lay off of the coffee entirely, I fought doing this. Then, my husband helped me to realize the reason. It clicked. God wanted me to slow down and stop busying myself-to be present in Him because that is what is most important. Caffeine, being a stimulant, made me feel more energized and in turn, more productive. It helped me to do more. But doing isn’t always necessarily the best or right thing. Deepening our relationship with our Savior and relying on Him for our strength, is though. The world will tell us otherwise. And unless our focal point is Him, it can be difficult not to get sucked into the doing and keeping up with the Jones’.

Busyness can be a distraction. It can divert us from what our focus really needs to be on. I was playing Martha, when I needed to be Mary. My priorities were backwards. I was trying so hard to do, that I was not really listening to how He wanted me to do. I was doing in my own strength, when what He wanted for me was to stay in His presence, depending on Him-not caffeine. With today’s technology, it’s too easy to become inundated with the portrayals on TV and social media showing us what life “should” be like. If we aren’t intentional, how quickly our eyes can wander from Him. Wandering eyes, can mean more worldly tasks added to our plates. And if we can’t slow down on our own, God will find ways to slow us down and remind us what really matters-our relationship with and dependence on Him.

He wants us to know Him on a heart level. In order to do this, we must get to know Him better. So, how do we deepen our relationship with Him? We must spend time in his presence. When we set the busyness and distractions aside, instead of our relationship with Him, and we walk with Him in each moment, seeking Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls, all else will fall into place. So, let’s slow down, look up and remember to send prayers and praises to Him throughout each day.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Rest In His Presence

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