Presence

by

Somewhere over the past few months, I’ve internally shifted into having more of a performance mentality. I’ve tied my identity many times with how well I’m doing rather than simply with who I’m being. I felt myself failing far more often than flying.

As someone who is passionate about identity, this can be difficult to admit. But it just means that I’m still a work in progress, still learning to live out who God has designed me to be.

Have you struggled with a performance mentality?

God began to stir my heart months ago towards a fresh visionĀ about who I am becoming and where I’ve strayed. I heard a singular word. Presence. My heart leapt. This word summed up everything I longed for, everything I’d neglected leading to those moments of feeling the failing. It brought me back to the Source of what matters.

Presence.

Both the Presence of God and the presence of me. Recognizing His unfailing Presence in my life. Placing the fullness of my presence before Him and others I encounter each day. Present in this moment, neither living in the past nor dwelling on the future. Presence full in the here-and-now. Living with the longing to discover how each moment is pregnant with His Presence.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy…” Jude 1:24

It’s always the Presence of God that creates transformative change, that creates life. In His Presence is safety and rest, guidance and strength, cleansing and restoration.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12

It’s always the fullness of my presence that reveals the love I have for God and others. How can I show love if I am not present?

On a practical note, I’ve wondered how this offering of my presence to those in my daily life works. As a homeschooling mom who also writes and speaks and plans – who is the wife and mom and friend – how do I handle the interruptions that inevitably enter my day, pulling my attentive presence from one thing to another? That’s what the past few months have brought me to ask as I’ve pondered this single word, Presence…single, yet not simple.

When the Israelites moved throughout the wilderness, they had only one indicator that it was time to move on: the movement of God’s Presence in the pillar of cloud or fire. They may have stayed one night or several months in one spot. But every morning they looked to the pillar of His Presence to follow His direction. When He moved, so did they. It was simple, though certainly not always easy. Attend to His Presence. Move when He does, but never before.

“And He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And [Moses] said to Him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.'” Exodus 33:14-15

I’m not sure I have the precise answer yet to what this looks like practically. But, perhaps, here’s a place to start:

Holding so loosely to my agendas that they’re easy to set down, either for a moment’s interruption or for a complete redirection, attentive to the movement of God’s Presence.

Training my kiddos, and offering the example, of practiced patience. How to wait on someone else to complete their thought or task before pulling them off course.

Stripping away the things that weigh me down, making it easierĀ to move when His Presence does.

Asking: What’s getting in the way of sensing His Presence? What’s keeping me from giving my presence?

Presence. Remembering that He’s here. Remembering to be here.