“Let My Presence bring order to your thoughts, infusing Peace into your entire being.”
Tonight my guy and I were 15 minutes late for church. My fault. As we drove there, I guzzled coffee, took bites of the cereal bar I asked him to bring for me, and generally just tried to relax. Unhype, unwire myself.
This past month I’ve been on a hamster wheel and wanting to get off. But still, instead of pausing, taking time to take care of my mind, spirit, and body, I’ve generally just worked harder. Cause if you work harder, you’ll get off the hamster wheel quicker, right? So, like the crazy little hamster who runs and runs and runs around that wheel, I just couldn’t stop. It’s cute with a hamster, not so cute with a person.
I’ve written a Facebook post and hid it like ten times; it’s a list of all that I’ve accomplished this past week, and honestly, there’s a part of me quite proud of all I’ve handled—the various work projects, home things, other tasks—all with a head cold and Internet issues and with only one burst of tears that felt like release.
But while I’ve handled the deadline pressures, what’s also true is that my whole body is one tight wire, I’ve barely eaten, my apartment is full of dishes and laundry on the floor, and tonight at church I spent the first ten minutes fighting tears that were due to nothing else but the need to breathe.
When worship began, instead of singing with gusto, I stood silent. Breathing. Pausing. Listening to the lyrics. Praying. Asking for God to restore me to balance. To help calm my desire to flee and cry in the bathroom. To calm my fears that I was in no frame of mind or being to meet all the new people sitting behind me. To give my boyfriend a supernatural understanding to see that I was tense, but trying. That he would reach out in some way that showed he saw me.
In reality, underneath the tense, the wired, the taut body and mind, I do, in a humbler, quieter way see growth. I notice that my ability to handle pressures has increased. I do believe this coming year will be a more productive, more lucrative year in my business because I have grown in confidence in my abilities and in my worth. But I also know that I do not want THIS feeling to follow me into the new year.
While I do believe that yes, deadlines happen, crazy-busy periods happen, I do know that I’ve gotten off track with starting my day with Jesus. With a devotion and a breath. A pause. Room for him to speak. There’s just so much to do; there’s no time. Most mornings, I brew the coffee, open the computer, and get right to work. I also know that a few weeks ago, right before the frenzy began, I kept seeing a Facebook post about someone needing a ride and felt God nudging me to take a few hours out of my day to give said person that ride. But instead, I chose myself. I chose all my deadlines and duties. And the rush began right after. And the literal fever and sickness began soon after too.
In summation, I got out of order.
Even now, it’s hard to write this blog post because all I can think about is the mess all around me, but this is priority. This is order. This is me honoring God.
Tomorrow morning, I plan to take a breather. I will start the day with my devotion and cup of coffee. I will finish this blog post and then tidy this place. Do the essentials to restore some visual order.
But what I am learning most of all is that I am human, and while I long to live a perfectly ordered life, it is very possible that I will fall into the frenzy again; into the “I am so tense” language again; to the “need to list everything I’m doing because ‘look at me I work so hard and I want kudos, I want affirmation, I want someone to tell me I am doing well’” again; to the sitting in the middle of a room so tight and tense that it is taking everything in me not to fall apart again.
Still, I am learning, in those moments, to pause, breathe, and go to Jesus.
Go to Jesus.
Go to Jesus in the mess.
Go to Jesus in the stress.
Go to Jesus. Just breathe. Just sit. Close your eyes and ask Him to calm you. To restore balance. To help you breathe. To help you calm. To restore your emotions. To enter into this moment. This situation. These feelings. These messy feelings. To give others an understanding to see you. To see your heart.
Enter in, Lord Jesus.
I wrote this a few weeks ago, and it speaks to this lesson I am learning, this “practicing the presence of God” I am learning.
Thankful that my God’s voice can reach into the most cluttered day and most cluttered mind. Lord, speak to me. Speak to me despite my rushed spirit, longing to be still with you. Speak to me despite my rushed schedule, deadlines seeping into the minutes and hours of the day, rushing forward as I try to catch up, longing to be still with you, worried that there is not enough. Not enough. Must finish. Must get more. Must do more. Not enough. Must store up. Can’t get off. Must stop. Speak to me despite my rushed mouth that spews forth words not yet reflected upon or given to you. Speak to me despite my rushed veins, coursing through with caffeine and half-meals, body hungering for nourishment, balance, Spirit. Peace. God is peace. He touches the rush, the rushed mind, heart, body, spirit, and He speaks a word, one word, one sentence, one impression, and there is peace. The rush stops. The ride stops. The carnival of life keeps on; the work needs done, the body needs fed, things need mending but HE IS THERE, breathing calmness, breathing clarity, breathing peace. Hear, O Lord, my prayer. Reach down, my Lord, and touch my garment. Or let this prayer be me reaching out to touch the hem of your garment. Just one touch and I shall be healed. I shall find peace. I shall find love. I shall find You.
I love this lesson I am learning, that I can go to Jesus anytime, and He will restore my soul. He can calm the worry when the waters around are raging. He can restore peace in the middle of any storm. He is the water-calmer, the soul-calmer, the peace that restoreth my soul.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
—Psalm 23:1–3 (NKJV)
I plan to carry this treasure, this gift with me wherever I go, especially as I go north to spend a few days this holiday with my boyfriend’s family. (Gah!) A trip I am looking forward to but also nervous about. But I will remember that at any point, I can pause. Breathe. Pray to Jesus and ask Him to enter in. Enter into the moment. Enter into my spirit. Help me, Lord Jesus. Be here, Lord Jesus.
This gift is for all of us. He is there always.*
Whether you are stressed with deadlines, finances, holidays. Whether you are feeling your singleness hard, crying on the couch at night. Whether you are walking into new seasons that require bravery. Whether you are growing but don’t know how to stop. Don’t know how to stop. Don’t know how to be. Are afraid to be.
Whatever you are feeling. Wherever you are.
He is there.
He is always there.
Even when you’re running on a hamster wheel and don’t know how to get off.
So after those first few minutes of worship, as I breathed, prayed, and invited God into my feelings, worries, and emotions, my body started to calm. My emotions started to calm. By the last song, “Good Good Father,” I was singing with a stronger, more stable heart, and my man, who had been sitting, it seemed, a mile away, put his arm around my shoulder.
He is a good good Father.
He sees you.
I hope you have a blessed week.
*P.S. If you don’t know Jesus, you can know Him today. You can invite Him in. I promise you, while life will have its share of pain and struggles, you will never be alone again. The love He gives is unconditional and unending. It never fails.
HOW TO RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST:
- Admit your need for forgiveness and peace.
- Be willing to turn from your sins, believing that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.
- Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to forgive your sins & be your Savior. (1)
(1) “Looking for Peace with God?” Beth Moore: Living Proof Ministries, http://www.lproof.org/looking-for-peace.