Becoming present


I learned something very useful in the last few weeks.

It started with that week, the week when – for a moment – I lived at less than my usual hyper-speed velocity.  A beautiful week: of peace, of calm and stillness.  I had space to think and space to be.  It was possible to live a little more conscious of the present moment rather than always with an eye on the future as it races towards me at a pace almost beyond my ability to withstand.

And halfway through that week, God broke in.  He’d been there all along, of course, just out of sight.  I’d felt guilty all week for my prayerlessness, the fact that I was doing nothing, the pace that I was not getting through my current reading in 1 Chronicles.  I’d felt guilty for not trying hard enough to engage with God –  and then promptly smiled at the recognition of this feeling, a feeling which tells me how affected my idea of relationship is still by a doctrine of works.

So when he came, it was pure surprise.  I wasn’t even consciously engaged with him at the time.  But still he came, and the days that followed were different.

I can only conclude that it was not he who became present to me but I who became present to him.  And what strikes me the most is how many days of stillness it took.

The Monday after that week was a return to business as usual.  Life slipped back into warp speed and the day disappeared.  By Tuesday, my sense of him was gone again, swallowed up in the ever-mounting to do list and the growing number of appointments to fulfil.  What’s more, I spent the whole day angry and aware of the volatility of my emotions around others, frustrated, aware that I had lost something very precious.  The rest of the week slipped by in the same vein and it became harder to hear him and harder to believe even that he is.

And so it is that I learned (or re-learned?!) something from this.  To become present to God I need much more space in my life than I have currently.  A daily time with God is essential but it does not meet this need for space.  I know that if I am serious about leading within in the Christian community, if I am serious about wanting to hear God’s heart and share it as best as I know how, then I need occasional weeks of space; they are not negotiable, despite my best efforts to treat them as such.

What about you?  How do you help yourself to become present to him?

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