Being Present

Nov 13, 2017

 

 

The last several weeks I’ve been focusing on what it means to love God with all of ourselves as Jesus commanded. This week I want to add one more way in which we can love God with all of ourselves.

When we give our whole selves to God in love, we are giving God access to all that we are and we become present to His presence in all that we do. This ability which is dormant in us needs nurturing to bring it forward in our lives. Realizing this ability depends upon our practice of stilling our minds so that we can hear His “still, small voice” of 1 Kings 19:12 {KJV translation] or the “gentle whisper.” [NIV version] To be still before God means separating ourselves out from our minds so that we can see our own thinking for what it is, mostly self-serving, self-protecting and self-aggrandizing. Once we can think the way we’ve always thought and no longer get emotionally involved in the thinking, when we are simply an observer of our thoughts, but not embroiled in them—then we can begin to hear that “gentle whisper.”

How do we begin to hear God’s quiet voice within us? There are numerous ways, whatever works best for you: Centering Prayer, the Welcoming Prayer, Meditation, keeping a gratitude journal or doing the daily examen of the Ignation Exercises and more. As we practice any of these on a daily basis, we are training ourselves to become an observer of our noisy mind’s thinking, usually a repetitive tape of negativity and shoulds. We begin to see that how we think is our own personal lens on the world. We can begin to name the sources of the thinking, most likely our parents, our teachers, other children in our lives. As we recognize the source and our own reaction to what was said to us early in our lives, we are able to just observe them and not be engaged emotionally in them. They are in us, but not representative of our truer selves. As we step back from their influence, we are able to begin to hear the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, the Indwelling Spirit who speaks truth to us.

Jesus meant that we are to be present to God throughout our days—your whole self, open to God’s presence in this moment and the next. This is what Jesus taught and lived—to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength(body). [Matthew 22:34ff, Mark 12:28ff, Luke 10:25ff] This is not only living in the present moment, not in the past or in the future, but being present to the person before you. Being present to what is needed in this moment whether it is completing a task or speaking to someone else. Being present to God’s “still, small voice” all the time. It is the ability to “read” the person before you as God reveals to your thoughts his or her needs, or the ability to see the truth in what is rather than what we assume we will see or what we want to see. It means we are seeing the world with the wider lens of God’s vision without the limitations of our own personal lens. To see the truth in this moment is to be connected to God.

To be connected to God we must be present to Him in everything. At work. With our marriage partners, our children and our families. At church. With our neighbors. In our leisure time. God would be a full partner with us in the totality of our lives. And with God as our full partner our lives become freer and more directed and more fulfilled and more purposeful. God will want to use our whole selves in order for us to realize our full potential, to be the human being that He created each of us to be.

This is tough stuff for us modern people who are more connected to our computers and especially to our phones than we are to any person. We’ve buried ourselves in games and FB and Instagram and email and other apps to the exclusion of people. As if being connected via the Internet is equivalent to being connected in person! And we think that only folks addicted to opioids are the addicted ones!

A life lived in God means that we have given up our worldly vices which consume us, that we only use them for being connected, but not as our whole life. Jesus said that we cannot serve mammon(the world) and God at the same time. [Matthew 6:24] Either the world is first with us or God is. And if we’re hiding from the world in out apps because it is too painful for us, the better thing to do is to give the world up for God and let Him deal with the world in us. He can transform anything problematic in us, heal it and free us from our dependencies on everything but Him. All it takes is our being present to His presence!

________________________________________________________________

Questions to ponder over the week: Am I aware of the sources of the negative tape in my mind? Am I able to disconnect from those loud voices and see them as only valid in the past? Can I hear the “still, small voice” of God? Do I follow His wisdom for me faithfully?

_____________________________________________________

Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who live in the awareness of God’s Indwelling Spirit. May we faithfully follow His lead. May we live in the truth about ourselves—as God see us.

 

On this page also find the archives of my blog going back to 2011.

 

My new book, “Exodus: Our Story, Too!”, is available at amazon.com. Its thesis is that the Exodus story reveals an invitation for us all to give our lives over to Christ in the deepest way possible and the template for how to do that. The author’s name is my full name, Patricia Said Adams.  Also available at Park Road Books in Charlotte NC, at Sagrada in Berkeley CA and at the Mercy Center Bookstore in Burlingame CA.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.