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Stop & Stare: On Stilling Myself in God’s Presence

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 7 a.m. this morning:

It was nippy. The wind whipped my hair. Shivers ran up and down my spine. Man, I wish I brought more blankets. But the sun trickled slowly in, lightly kissing my skin.

With french vanilla coffee in one hand, and my Bible in the other, the chills ceased. The winds kept biting. But being still in the presence of the Lord warmed my body from the inside out.

It had been so long, I forgot how good that felt.

*****

A couple of weeks ago, I said, “I’m learning how to still my mind, heart and body before God. It has been one of the biggest struggles. I want to go, go, go.”

Confession: I haven’t stopped much since then. My body is at odds with my spirit. I want to complete the tasks before me, I want to take on more challenges, I want to do it all.

But my spirit longs time with The Lord. My spirit desires peace in His presence, for me to ditch the agenda and to-do list, for me to stop and stare at His word.

Unfortunately, my flesh wins most of the time. I settle for 10-minute, mind-wandering quiet times as I rush out the door to make it to class on time. Or I convince myself yawn-filled, incoherent prayers while falling asleep will suffice.

They aren’t enough. But I do them anyway.

I’m a hypocrite.

You see, quality time is my love language. I firmly believe we make time for the activities, people, and obligations we most value.

Often times I am hurt when people don’t make time for me. Many of my friendships fall apart not because of fights, but because of conflicting schedules and lack of putting forth effort to spend time together.

And while I sulk and pout because of my dwindling friendships, I am doing the same wrong to God.

I settle for the occasional, surface level, hi-and-bye bump-ins with The Lord. I talk, but I don’t listen. I touch base, but I don’t land.

This morning I was reminded of how quality time with The Lord is absolutely vital.

As the sun peeked up over Lake Waco, it felt like God was saying, “Hello, I’ve missed you.” I missed Him too.

And I will keep on missing The Lord if I allow myself to, if I continue to settle. When my quiet times are shallow, I become shallow. I judge more. I love less. I complain and grumble and lose perspective.

But when my quiet times are deep and long and focused and pure, I become passionate and loving and joyful and righteous. I am more aware of His presence. I have keen eyes to His hand in my everyday life. I judge less. I love more. I encourage and praise and gain new understanding.

I don’t know why I settle for a lukewarm faith, for watered-down quiet times with wandering thoughts.

I hope today sticks with me. I hope I keep learning how to still my heart, mind and body before God. I hope even more I will experience this meditation firsthand.

Because God’s love language is quality time, too. And I need to stop and stare at His word, shut off the world and soak in His presence to feed my love for Him.

Pay attention to this, Job. Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God! Job 37:14

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