Last week I told you my word for the year was presence. I’ve become desperate to release the juggling, the striving, running and cistern-filling that never actually fills. I yearn for Jesus’ presence…to sit at His feet. To learn and love and live. I don’t want to care about what each day brings as long as I can journey through each day with Him.
I thought my biggest obstacle to sitting in His presence would be learning to rest. For the past few years, I thought tending to chores around the house was resting. Compared to standing on stage while speaking and singing, or pounding out another book project or some other creative endeavor, mindless activities like folding laundry or scrubbing counters feel like rest. But they’re not. Here’s the tricky thing about living in the cycle of go-go-go for so long…after a while, the nonstop activity is like a drug. When it’s gone, there’s a terrifying hole of quiet that suddenly needs to be filled. Some people automatically understand how to rest. I don’t. For me, it’s a learned behavior, one I have to be taught but I’m getting there.
I thought learning to rest would be the most difficult part of this whole-seeking-God’s-presence-journey. But I was wrong. There are two others that hit me hard.
The first I learned while putting my three-year-old to sleep several nights ago. After two runs to the bathroom, a drink, a ten minute long prayer, and another drink, Nate grabbed my hand and kissed my palm, looking up into my face with a hopeful grin.
“Stay til I sleep, Monny?”
I inwardly sighed. His bedtime routine was growing longer each night and a long list of chores still awaited me. But I kissed his forehead as God’s Spirit spoke to my heart.
I settled next to my little man and rubbed his face. Maybe it was the realization that time was fleeting. My children are growing up too fast. Maybe it was pure obedience that kept me rooted in place. Whatever the reason, I stayed and stroked his forehead, toyed with his chestnut curls, ran my fingertips over his eyebrows and temples until those heavy lashes could stand it no longer.
As I watched him succumb to sleep, Jesus pressed this thought into my spirit.
You’ve been seeking My presence. My Spirit is within You and if you long to sit at My feet, it is here, in these humble moments, caring for those entrusted to you that you’ll find Yourself closer to Me. Ministering to the needy. Feeding the hungry. Encouraging the broken. Visiting the prisoner. When you do this, you sit at My feet. I AM with you. I am here.
The next night I was plagued with a nasty bout of insomnia. I tossed and turned but couldn’t get comfortable. One thought kept bugging me over and over.
Rise and write.
I ignored it. I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do when insomnia’s restless fingers flutter over our minds? Lie still. Ignore the TV and phone. Keep the lights off.
Nothing worked and that night was one of the most miserable I’ve endured in ages. The next morning, I sat up in my grump-induced haze and wondered if perhaps the urge to write wasn’t the crazy whim of a hyperactive right-brained blonde, but instead God’s sweet plea pulling me from sleep to offer a divine invitation.
As I stared out window, watching the sun streak the morning pink, I prayed, “Lord, was that You?”
Following Me often means interruption. Sitting in My presence may pull you away from other things, but it is always an invitation to know Me. To create with Me. To walk with Me.
Maybe I’ll get the hang of this eventually. I’m glad God is patient. Even when I get it wrong, He is so tender. So patient. And even in my mistakes, He is teaching me.
That’s the amazing thing about being with Jesus. You cannot walk away unchanged. The well of love and knowledge in His presence is unfathomable.