WHEN GOD’S PRESENCE IS ENOUGH

Some of my most treasured moments with God have been in the simplicity of peaceful silence with him. Sitting on my patio breathing in the fresh air, taking in his sweet presence, or laying in my hammock tied between the trees. I whisper words to him in my spirit and take a breath in awe of the fact that he loves me so much to give me the freedom to peacefully rest with him without working for something in that moment. Nothing more, nothing less.

If I’m completely honest, however, when I first found myself enjoying the presence of God above anything else in such an organic way, a confusing thought would sometimes creep into my mind.

I wondered if by “doing nothing” (from an earthly perspective) I wasn’t being as spiritually “productive” as I should be. I wondered if by embracing this priceless moment of allowing him to just love on me, and me love him back, I was somehow wasting time that was supposed to be spent on “greater things”.

I felt somewhat selfish because I thought that maybe by just sitting there, I was missing out on opportunities to produce fruit for God’s kingdom…. I mean, aren’t there people out there who are dying, countries that are in serious threat, and what about the brokenness in hearts of so many people? What am I doing sitting here enjoying this as much as I am, while others are suffering and I could be interceding for them?!

Through these questions, I realized something I don’t think I ever truly understood in earlier seasons of life: He desires that we deeply fall in love with his companionship. This comes before what we need to accomplish.

He desires that, in both the high and low seasons, we discover what is feels like when HIS PRESENCE IS ENOUGH.

He wants us to experience the healing that emerges in his presence. This intimacy is the very substance that fills us and equips us to accomplish what he’s called us to do. He wants us to hear his voice louder and know that we too are enough.  

((The closer we are to God, the more we are like our true selves, and less like the self that developed out of unresolved pain. The closer companionship we share with our father who made our hearts, the more in touch and know where we are of our hearts and who we truly are. We begin to see ourselves less and less through the lens of problems, other people, bad experiences, and everything that tainted the heart that God so perfectly fashioned. The closer to the one who created us, the more we embrace our personal creation. When we are disconnected from God, it is impossible to know who we really are. No one else out there knows a single thing about our heart or the way it was designed since the day we were born.

The closer we are to God, the more we are like our true selves, and less like the self that developed out of unresolved pain. The closer companionship we share with our father who made our hearts, the more in touch and know where we are of our hearts and who we truly are. We begin to see ourselves less and less through the lens of problems, other people, bad experiences, and everything that tainted the heart that God so perfectly fashioned. The closer to the one who created us, the more we embrace our personal creation. When we are disconnected from God, it is impossible to know who we really are. No one else out there knows a single thing about our heart or the way it was designed since the day we were born.))

BEYOND FUNCTIONAL- LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST.

6/23 – A lot of people know that the coping mechanisms we developed to get through pain when we were younger stick around in adulthood. Usually, they don’t exactly stick around for the better.

Growing up, I learned what could “get me through” painful circumstances.To escape. Compartmentalize. Somehow my mind could switch it off the section that hurt as though the pain wasn’t really there. Although lacking fullness and completeness in my spirit, I “functioned” by escaping the pain.

I felt more in control of what hurt when I toughened up, numbed my emotions, stashed away the tears, and forgot anything hurt at all. Once I put a deadbolt on the door to my feelings, I learned to emotionally run away so that I wouldn’t consider picking up the key to that lock. I ran away through activities, relationships, overstretching myself with commitments, constant busyness.

By forcing myself to shut down certain parts of my heart, I continued to function in the midst of circumstances that would have naturally led me to some much deeper, darker places. On the flip side, acting like my pain wasn’t there required me to ignore some very important parts of my heart that were needed in order to flourish to my fullest potential. I continued to practice this method of coping well into my adult life without even realizing I was doing it. When things felt to painful to handle, or when my heart was breaking, my heart turned to what it knew best in order to function throughout my adult life.

(( Can only hurt us when unnecessary as adults. But, I didn’t think about how the reason God allow those coping mechanisms to develop is so that we could continue to function. So then, overtime, I used the method I knew best. To escape. Compartmentalize. ))

Now I am determined to feel and not run away. No wonder my functioning become so stunted! No wonder I struggled so much with the daily life, working productively, hitting personal deadlines for errands, remembering basic things, getting up in the morning. My usual “method” of functioning (escapism) is no longer here. My heart and mind never learned how to do it otherwise, so I am finally going through the process of re-learning how to develop the ability to effectively function in daily activities and ability to honestly recognize both positive and negative emotions. The Holy Spirit is patiently walking me through what it looks like to constantly be honest with myself, while I take baby steps towards becoming who I was created to be. It is such a beautifully terrifying experience! The more I see Jesus in my life in an abundance of circumstances, the more I realize that in the pain he can make me stronger, the bolder I become. Hope is taking root inside of me in a mysterious way I haven’t experienced before. Though I might oscillate between fear and peace from one hour to the next on some days, his love is steadily seeping through every crack of my heart. In his love, I’m finding the strength to dream, to take risks, and to trust. I still have so much left in my heart to surrender to him, but he knows my desires and meets me so graciously exactly where I need to be found.

The only way I will truly learn to fully develop both of these areas in my life simultaneously is complete reliance on Jesus. As my spirit becomes more united with his, and my devotion is more true and consistent, my ability to function will naturally fall into place. But this time, it will be done right. This time I will not just be surviving while I function. I won’t just be functional. I will be living my life to the fullest exactly the way my Father intended it to be. No need to run away, no need to replace my sadness with busyness. No need to neglect the pain that desperately needs healing. The pain is very real, but so is the comfort and the embrace.

** Maybe insert something about piece- to get to know yourself, first know your creator. This is what this time does. It allows you to get to know him and therefore to know your own self outside of the “you” that youve known and develop identity. ** Maybe could also lead into writing about the “you” that developed out of unresolved pain and the ways I learned to cope and “function”. You begin to start over on learning how to function the RIGHT way. Doing this without intimacy with God is extremely discouraging and exhausting.

 

Have you ever felt like all you really wanted was recognition from someone that meant the world to you?

How different would it be if we all learned to find complete joy and satisfaction in the time we spend with our Father…If we knew the value of our relationship with him FIRST. How different would it be if we really understood what we mean to him before running to other lovers to complete us.

You see, God’s perfect presence knows exactly how to fill the empty places within us in ways that we aren’t designed to do on our own.

This doesn’t mean we don’t need to participate in daily devotion with him or that we not be diligent in what we know to do as followers of Christ. As disciples, we place a limit on our capacity to live our lives to the fullest or build the faith necessary to walk in our calling unless we wholeheartedly commit to prayer, God’s word, worship, and sharing the love of Jesus with those around us.

While not neglecting the basic principles of good stewardship, it’s so important that we accept the reality that sometimes our Father just wants us to be. He also desires that we just let him be. We may not fully understand it, but the power of God’s presence transcends beyond anything we could ever accomplish on our own time or with our human hands. The reward we receive for this time with him is a stronger relationship with his precious Spirit. As his spirit consumes more of our being, we create a FAR GREATER impact in his kingdom!

Embrace your time with him and allow it to be spent the way the Spirit leads you. Relax and have peace in his presence. Let him first equip you for what is to come by establishing your identity in him.

Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10

COMFORT IS NOT THE GOAL. IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING.

My favorite part of being home is it’s large, green, peaceful backyard. I love to sit quietly on my patio and soak in the Father’s creation. At the beginning of Winter, the yard is filled with hundreds of dry leaves that have fallen and remain on the ground from the prior season. Eventually, these leaves need to be cleared out in order for the grass that is beneath to grow.

This is exactly what God wants to do when we allow him to get rid of what no longer has a place in our lives from prior seasons. He doesn’t just clear them, he makes room for something else to grow. When we come to him with questions or in despair, he doesn’t only want to respond and comfort us. He gives us peace so that the burden we previously carried is removed and no longer blocking what he wants to GROW in our lives.

I hope that at some point we’ve all know what it feels like to bring our troubles to God and feel a weight lift from our spirit. It’s a wonderful, priceless experience. The problem is that many times, once we feel lighter from receiving the emotional and spiritual relief we longed for, we decide that’s good enough. We engage in our daily routine, focus on everything else that needs to get done, or on what is simply more interesting than prayer and devotion. Meanwhile, God is still waiting on your heart. If we are honest with ourselves, this relationship dynamic with God is strictly self-seeking.

When you truly desire God, when you truly desire his presence, the removal or lessening of your troubles is nowhere near enough. In fact, it’s only the beginning.

It’s an entrance to a whole new place with God without the disruptions and burdens that were there before. Now is the perfect time in which you can actually begin to experience him in a way like never before.

The primary goal of prayer is not to achieve personal satisfaction so that we can move on to something else. Prayer brings us closer to the heart of our creator. From this closeness, our desires align with his and our hearts become fuller than ever. 

If you’ve received what you’ve been asking for, praise God for who he is! Praise him, then keep on going into another level with him. Keep going by diving in more deeply and craving him more strongly. It’s time to embrace his love presence and to walk with the most openness to hearing his voice.

The Holy Spirit is not intended to be a band aid.

God didn’t put his spirit in us so that it could be all about us. He gave us the Holy Spirit because he LOVES us so much that he provided us with the guarantee that we can be in constant communion with Him if we so choose. When you truly desire a relationship with God to the deepest depths he has to offer, you just don’t stop with a sense of satisfaction from receiving what you asked for. That is never enough. Be encouraged to not move on to other spiritual priorities once the Holy Spirit brings you comfort. Use it as a jump start to so many things to come that are in his plans for your relationship together. Plans that are far better than what you can ever imagine.

As you find peace that surpasses all understanding in his beautiful presence, as you receive forgiveness through his grace, and as you rejoice in answered prayers, embrace it knowing that the path has been cleared for you to experience the Father in a way you weren’t able to before when everything else was bringing you down.

If you took your heart to him and he met you exactly where you needed to be found, let this be a catapult for the rest of your journey as a follower of Jesus. God wants to bring you out of your prior season for NEW THINGS to grow. He’s not clearing out the dead leaves so that your land can remain dry and barren.

Whatever he clears out from your life he does with the purpose of allowing his precious living water to permeate your spirit and bring you the clarity needed to keep moving toward your purpose. This, my friend, is a process that should never come to a stop.