Practicing Simple Presence

By Cathy Gates (Director of Thrive Ministries)

About 18 months ago my husband and I moved.  As with all moves, we found a few broken items when we unpacked.  One of them was a small figurine of an angel kneeling in prayer.  Her head had broken off of her body.  I placed in on one of my bookshelves until I had time to repair it.. 

One day as I sat with the Lord, I was struggling to stay focused – on him and on the scripture I was reading, and my mind was drifting as I prayed. At one point I looked up and saw the little angel kneeling in prayer with her head on the shelf beside her body.  I heard the Spirit whisper “Cathy, sometimes you are like this little angel. You are doing the right things, you are in the right place, you are taking time to be with me, but, your head is somewhere else”. 

Are you awake

1 Corinthians 3:16 says Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

We understand the concept that the Spirit lives in us BUT are we in fact awake to the Spirit of God that lives in each of us?

God is fully present in every moment in our lives.  The question is – Are we fully present to God’s presence in every moment of our lives?

Sometimes I wonder about how much I miss of what God is saying to me. How much I’ve missed him saying in the last year?  Or the last month or week.  Have I missed something today? 

Have you ever driven somewhere and when you arrive you wonder how you got there because you can’t remember anything about the trip? Each day we do so many things on autopilot that we can miss present moment experiences. 

In her book Sacred Rhythms Ruth Haley Barton describes three barriers to being fully present with God. 

  1. Speed of life and ministry. We move so fast that there is no time to draw aside as Moses did to even notice God in our midst let alone what he might be saying to us. 
  1. Past / Future focus of our thinking – What happened yesterday that concerns us or what is going to happen tomorrow, next week or next month occupies most of our attention and thinking.
  1. Distraction of technology. Technology although helpful, causes us to be ABSENT in the present moment. (Have you ever noticed someone crossing the street against a red light texting and totally oblivious to the danger they are in?)

Technology has the potential to create a vacuum of present moment experiences with God and others.  And it renders us unaware of what is going on inside of us. 

What if God is gently trying to get our attention in the midst of everyday moments, drawing us deeper into relationship with him?

What might happen if we intentionally look for God’s presence and listen for God’s voice in our lives each day? I believe this has the potential to transform our relationship with him

Try these few steps. 

  1. Slow down.  Intentionally be fully present with all your senses and your spirit. (What do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste) Wait patiently and expectantly for God do draw your attention to something.
  2. Take a closer look.  Allow what has drawn your attention to become your single focus.
  3. Be curious. What questions pop up at you pay attention?
  4. Be humble – Don’t assume you know what God is saying to you.  Be still and say “Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.” And then actually listen😊
  5. Follow the thread. Is this present moment experience part of a thread running through your life?
  6. Make note of your feelings as you spend this moment with the Lord.
Want to set aside intentional time to be fully present to God? 
Join us for a Soul Focus Retreat.

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