I mean, really present.
We are so consumed with the past, the future, what we just said, how they’ll react, what we are going to say next, if we look good in what we’re wearing, and 1,000 other things that keep us from ever actually feeling the life we live. Just pay attention in your next conversation to how little you actually even listen. Lately, I’ve been learning to stop caring about what I’m going to say to keep the conversation going, and how to just receive the person in front of me completely, truly engaging in everything they have to give me.
I love Psalm 46:10. “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Some translations say “be still,” but that misses the point a bit. It’s about letting go, ceasing striving, just “being” and “knowing.” Let go and know. This then begs the question, “how do I know?” Good question.
The New Testament is constantly speaking of the profound mystery of Jesus. He’s a man. He’s God. He was killed. He’s alive. He was before. He’s the last.
Paul says that “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
All things were created through Him, and He is the glue, the force, the Man that holds all things together. (Col 1:16-17)
John calls Him the Logos, a term in Greek thought for the thing behind all the things, that somehow created all the things yet is all the things. No matter how big of a box we make for Him, we cannot contain Him. That’s the key. He is so big, He cannot be figured out, only experienced. We eternally drink of the mystery of Christ, the Fount of Life that never runs dry.
And that’s where the freedom comes.
Christ is in the trees. He’s in the sunset. He’s in the love you feel for your mom, or the smile in the homeless man’s eyes as you hand him a cup of hot chocolate. He’s in everything, but we are so busy chasing Him that we can’t find Him! This isn’t some new-age-tree-hugging-one-with-the-earth sort of thing. It’s not treating the tree like Jesus, it’s encountering Jesus through your experience of the tree. God is the author of beauty, so when we see beauty, we see God. When you experience joy, or feel peace, remember that peace and joy are the very things that the kingdom of heaven is made out of! (Rom 14:17)
So what makes you alive? What fills you with joy? How do you feel connected to beauty, to creation, to the people around you? Find that, and you find Jesus. The only reason we don’t find Him there, is we forget to recognize it as Him.
On the road to Emmaus, in Luke 24, a few Disciples are having this amazing conversation with Jesus. They are filled with life, passion, joy, as Jesus helps them to experientially know the scriptures they had factually read so many times before…
Except, they have no idea it’s Jesus.
Imagine staring into the face of God, hearing His words, feeling your heart burn within you and fill you with emotion, and being completely ignorant of who you’re talking to. It wasn’t until they sat down to eat with Him that they finally had their eyes opened to who it was.
We do this all the time. We have conversations with Jesus, we cuddle in His love or are tickled by His beauty, and we just call it “life,” or “a great moment.”
It’s not just life, or a moment–
We need to cease striving and know God, everywhere He is….which is everywhere. Stop looking so hard for Him, and simply recognize that He has been there all along, waiting for you to enjoy Him. Stop worrying about how to impress Him, or any of the “shoulds.” You “should” just “be!” Just live in the moment, be present in life. He’s in this moment. He’s with you now. He is filled with pleasure as you read this very sentence here with Him. He’s not far away, and He’s not hard to experience. Just cease trying, and feel Him. Cease striving, and know Him. The kingdom of heaven is filled with freedom, but only if we throw off the shackles of religion and self-focused busy lives and rest in that freedom.
You have been set free. Enjoy it.
p.s. I’ve started a new page on this blog titled “Enjoying God.” I’ll be adding to it all the time with all sorts of fun stuff that helps me enjoy Him. Please join the conversation. Post ways you enjoy God. Leave comments, with videos, music, poetry, thought blurbs, photography, stories, anything you like that brings you pleasure and joy in this spectacular life of freedom in God! (just look for the “Enjoying God” tab in the upper right)