The Power of Being Present
"You have always been that way. You have always been fearless, and you always did what you knew to be best. There is no stopping you once you knew what was right for you to do; this is who you are Abigail, and I've always admired that in you because I knew that you were a gift from God."
I love my mother more than words will ever be able to describe ( this is coming from a blogger👀). My mother has always been the one I will reach out to for everything. Since I could remember, my mom and I would spend hours talking about Jesus and love and Scripture (sometime it would be 2 AM when we'd conclude). We would worship with songs (and sometimes in silence) to the Lord at our dining room (and living room and kitchen; okay we this around the home a lot). Spending time digesting the Word of God did bring me closer to mother, but this allowed me, no it gave me, the perfect amount of space to create a personal and intimate relationship with Christ.
As much as I adore my mother, this post isn't about her. Instead, I want to take us deeper into a message God has been resonating in my spirit: being present in his presence.
Similar to any 20 something living in Washington D.C., my days are jammed with schedules and appointments. God has been reminding me that my commitments have been interfering with my attention and ability to be more present with him. With the Lord's help, I have been dancing my way back into being engulfed in the presence of God.
The presence of God reminds me of stillness. There is power in being still. Being tranquil in the presence of God strengthens us because we are present with the rock that never moves; hence, we are unshakable. Being present with the Lord causes us to discern effectively and confidently. Being able to be present with the Lord allows us to heal and perceive life and people the way that the Lord does. To be present with Christ will enable us to add more color ( I adore art) and depth in our relationship with the one, our soul loves the most. There is life, growth, freedom, and consistent peace when we are present with our Father.
I have always adored Psalms 46:10 (I promise I'm not hopping 🐇around and this ties into what I'm talking about). Though, there have been many verses that are associated with being present with God that the Lord has been sharing with me lately:
'Then Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for those Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.” '
EXODUS 14:13-14 AMP
'Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light, And your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun]. Commit your way to the Lord; Trust in Him also and He will do it. Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. '
So often we face battles that make absolutely no sense to us for some time. Or we could be going through a season where God feels dormant. We may be hurting more than we want to in other seasons of our lives. If you have been following Christ, you know these seasons all too well. In each season, to being still in the presence of the Lord has been the ultimate strategy to ensure victory, joy, and peace.
To be present with Lord brings peace, joy, and tranquility (the very thing we spend money, time, and energy searching for becomes evident in the presence of the Lord). Similar to the moments when my mother and I would spend hours basking in the Word of God, that is what the Lord asks of us. Chaos gets leeway when we are not balanced, and our energy is unstable when we throw it into everything carelessly aside from our relationship with our main man. Balance exists in the Lord.
What does it look like to be present with the Lord?
Some may say knowing chapters of Scripture, singing songs of truth to the Lord, or serving in areas that are hurting and require assistance is being present with God. I'm too honest to tell you or any person that doing these things does the trick to getting you there. These are ways we serve and obey the Lord though we can only please God when it is his will which we can only know when we are in his presence (see what happened there😉).
'The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands and coastlands be glad. Clouds and thick darkness surround Him [as at Sinai]; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes before Him And burns up His adversaries on all sides. His lightnings have illuminated the world; The earth has seen and trembled. The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory and brilliance. '
Remember the woman at the well? This woman wanted living water that would give her freedom from all she had been going through (the stressors and struggles of her life). She desired to unending quenching from the thirst that she had experienced for so long. This woman is all of us.
'The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not get thirsty nor [have to continually] come all the way here to draw.” But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water [satisfying his thirst for God] welling up [continually flowing, bubbling within him] to eternal life.” Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with [no bucket and rope] and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Jesus answered her, “If you knew [about] God’s gift [of eternal life], and who it is who says, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him [instead], and He would have given you living water (eternal life).” '
In this world, we search for peace and love through our jobs, deeds, relationships, and materials. These are external gifts that God blesses us with, but they will never compare to the power of being present with Him. We tend to worship the resources instead of spending time with the source. As a woman who has tried that path, I have to say this path is exhausting and meaningless. It leads to chaos and self-destruction. It is when we let go of everything (absolutely everything) and give ourselves to the Lord that we are able to taste what it means to be present with Jehovah.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. '
I found that it's not just in prayer and worship but in mediation that I know and sense the Lord and the Holy Spirit. Someone shared with me recently a perspective of prayer and meditation I wasn't aware of previously. They said that prayer is when we are talking to God, whereas meditation is when we listen to the Lord. When we are present in our relationship with God, we sense the cries in the depths of our souls; the laments God has always heard, and we have been afraid to face. We can express our purest gratitude to the Lord because there aren't any distraction, and it's only him and us.
Picture being present with the Lord as that memorable scene from Beauty and the Beast. When Belle comes down the stairs in her beautiful yellow dress and all she and the Beast notice are each other. They lock eyes, and in every movement they make, they are in sync. The couple seems to have been in a world that is entirely their own. This scene is as close to what it means to be present with the Lord in Disney terms.
'I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. I will meditate on Your precepts and [thoughtfully] regard Your ways [the path of life established by Your precepts]. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth. Blessed and reverently praised are You, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes. Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You. With all my heart I have sought You, [inquiring of You and longing for You]; Do not let me wander from Your commandments [neither through ignorance nor by willful disobedience]. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to Your precepts]. '
'You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes. Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep and honor Your word [with loving obedience]. Teach me good judgment (discernment) and knowledge, For I have believed and trusted and relied on Your commandments. '
'Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence]. '
If you want to know more about Christ and be a better follower of the Lord, sit in his presence. If peace that surpasses all understanding and joy that is unwavering are what you seek, you will find it when all that matters is you and the one your soul adores the most.
Let go of the stress. Release the doubt and judgment. Put the schedule, the job concerns, the relationship vulnerabilities, and everything else you've allowed to stand between you and God on the back burner. The only way we know what the Lord wants, how much he loves us, and how to live a life that depicts the story of a child chasing after the heart of the Lord is when we lay everything down and seek him and his presence.
Ask yourself and the Holy Spirit, what are you allowing to stand between having an honest, transparent, and vulnerable relationship with the Lord so that you may stay present with your Savior even in your darkest storms? Whatever the Lord reveals to you, let it go (insert clapping emoji hands; wait I can paste that, 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾). Sitting in his presence is more fulfilling, peaceful, loving, and healing than anything the world and people will ever give you.
Stop searching on the outside when he's been asked you to come inside.
Until next time...