Dish towers on the counter waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher. Color-coded hills of dirty clothes awaiting their turn in the washing machine. Wobbly school book towers on the table waiting for young hands to turn their pages. Paper, paper, paper.
Everywhere more to do, an endless landscape of piles to be leveled.
The to-do list grows.
And the noise! Chatter of newly learned history facts. Fussing about who did what, when and why. Requests for help. Playing, singing, doors slamming, thudding feet, dogs barking, roosters crowing... so. much. noise!
Dwelling in God's presence, here?
Do you live in a real family like I do? I'm guessing that, like me, you do not live the life of a contemplative, but are surrounded by people and sound and stuff. Yet in the midst of the swirl of life, you and I really can dwell in the presence of our holy God!
The fact is, we live our lives in His presence, but we often forget.
Behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21
I stand in my house and look at all those piles and hear all that racket and I have a choice. I can let my mind walk down the road of panic and being overwhelmed, or I can choose to take captive wayward thoughts and walk into His presence.
How can I dwell in God's presence and still be a part of real life?
There are many practices that can draw us into His presence. Some are simple, others for when we have more time of quiet.
Perhaps you choose to get up early and pray in the wee dark hours. But it may not be the season of your life to do this. The bible reminds us to:
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Throughout your day, you can keep a running conversation with God. Worship, confession, thanksgiving, requests, all blend together when you think of it as a conversation. Just as your conversations with your best friend weave in and out, your conversations with God will have many facets.
In a conversation, two people talk. So how do we hear from God? Through His Word! Jesus said:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26
Read your bible every day. Put scriptures that speak to your heart around your home. A great place to put them is right in front of the kitchen sink - you probably spend a lot of time there! Listen to music with lyrics from scripture. Make it a habit to memorize scripture that speaks into your life (yes, mamas, scripture memorization isn't just for your kids!).
I can't count the number of times I have been praying and upset, and a scripture perfect for the situation has come to mind. It is such a blessing.
Listening to scripture-based music not only allows God's Word to settle into your bones, singing it is a joyful way to pray, and bring you into His presence.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your heart to God. Colossians 3:16
And your kids will love having a happy singing mama!
4) Our minds
What we think determines how we act. Are you prone to stinkin' thinkin'? God knows how much our minds are a battleground and there are many scriptures that address this topic. Perhaps the most basic was said by Jesus:
And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37
I find myself often remembering this scripture:
...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
A way to think about this is like a four year old knight-superhero-cowboy-wannabe might (I think I've mentioned I live with one)... lasso those varmints and hand them over to the authorities! When you start noticing stinkin' thinkin' you might picture yourself literally grabbing those thoughts and giving them to Jesus to deal with.
Other scriptures about the mind include, Romans 8:6, Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 2:16
5) Our actions (obedience!)
It's simple. Jesus said if we do what He said to do, we will remain in His love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. John 15:10
In Psalm 15:1-5 David asks "...who may dwell on Your holy hill?" The answer is a description of a what a godly man does and does not do.
Choosing to be obedient does not make us more loved by God; it blesses us and grows us in joy. It strengthens our trust in Him, which deepens our relationship. We more easily are drawn into His presence.
We have a choice.
We can dwell in His presence, ignore His presence, or actively turn away from Him.
He's there no matter what we choose.
Do you long to dwell in His presence throughout your day? What will you do to grow your awareness of His constant presence this week?