Do you hear what I hear?
Can you imagine being in a room with another person and totally ignoring him or her? What if that person had made a special point to see you, be with you, and you were just oblivious? Or what if that person is someone you are in relationship with but you just take him or her for granted? Why bother to tell him how much you love him? Or mention that the person is the center of your life? They already know it. Or what if you’re not feeling it? What if it really feels like you’re in the room alone? What if you can’t feel being loved or your love for the other?
That ignored other person in the room feeling is often where we through neglect put our Abba. We go about our day and give Him little thought. Unless we need something. Then we elevate Him in our thoughts. Not unlike a child often does with parents, call them out of the corner when something is needed and not show love and appreciation for them nearly enough. How much harder then, when we are wired from infancy to be rather self centered, to be able to live lovingly toward our Abba when He can’t easily be seen.
Or can He. . .?
Our loving Father meets us where we are. Not just in the sense of theological understanding and religious observances, but in being in those times and places where He can be heard. There is no doubt that for me when I’m jogging it’s as if there’s an antenna directly connected to my earphones not just bringing me beautiful Messianic music, but also, tuning Him in as well. Of course I mean metaphorically for I don’t hear His voice. But as you know from my writings inspired during these times, He opens my eyes to His beauty in nature, some amazing synchronicities, and new eyes to see His workings in this world. For some it may be times of prayer, quiet times set aside from daily distractions, times of meditation, the look in a child’s eyes, prayer walks set aside for just this purpose, experiencing nature, serving others, sharing with a brother or sister in need, beautiful music or art, putting another first as He did for us.
It is the deliberate intentionality of bringing Him into the conversation, into the experience that helps us to “hear” Him. To the extent that doing so becomes a normal part of our daily lives, and the more we do it within each day, the more we palpably feel God in our lives. When we do, the struggles don’t stick but rather slide off like from a Teflon pan. We can smile more. We are able to see good in people and in situations when it’s not obvious. Our lives become so enriched that even the smallest act, the ability to breathe, becomes filled with holiness, making the synchronicities and bigger revelations all the more meaningful.
I encourage you to identify the many opportunities this week to notice our Abba in the room with you. He’s there all the time. The challenge is for you to notice.
Thank you for yet another lovely and meaningful Shabbat message. I admit that for me, as for many, it is a challenge to notice God during the whirlwind busyness of life – and that’s the way the adversary wants it (you know the old saying: ‘If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll keep you busy’)! Kerri Weems points out in her book ‘Rhythms of Grace’ that without even realizing it we can to begin to ‘live compartmentalized lives, where ‘clean closet’, ‘work out’ and ‘pray’ are right next to each other on our to-do lists, and pretty soon God becomes just one more thing we do – a project that we complete and put away until the next time, instead of a covenant relationship that permeates our lives’.
She offers as a solution to this the concept of ‘redeeming the time’, so that instead of ‘bringing God into our days’, we bring each moment of our days, as often as we can remember to do so, before God, being ‘present where we are’. Nowadays we have so many responsibilities and distractions that it’s all too easy to forget. We have to train our minds to deliberately ‘practice God’s presence’ in each moment. It is a lifelong process.
Some books that I have found to be very especially on this subject matter include: ‘Practicing the Presence of God’ by Brother Lawrence, ‘Awakening Your Soul to the Presence of God’ by Father Kiliam J. Healy, ‘Living Close to God When You’re Not Good at It’ by Gene Edwards, ‘One Thousand Gifts’ by Ann Voskamp, “Let Your Life Count’ by Donna Partow, and ‘The Pursuit of God’ by A.W. Tozer, among others.
I recently finished reading a wonderful book, ‘Mudhouse Sabbath’ by Lauren Winner. It is about the author’s experience as an orthodox Jew who became a follower of Yeshua. She talks about experiencing God through the many prayers and practices of Orthodox Judaism, both in contrast to and in combination with the ways of Christian grace. It’s very hands-on, practical, and down-to-earth. She writes honestly and with open vulnerability, like she’s your best friend whose life is far from perfect, but who is doing her best to pursue holiness in thought and in action. Certainly your weekly messages are right up there along with these other writings. But now I’m digressing…
So just how does one ‘pray without ceasing, at all times in the spirit, taking every thought captive to Messiah’? One helpful practice that I’ve recently begun that I never thought I would is that of memorizing scripture. Previously when anyone would mention it, I’d be turned off because, at least on the surface, it likens having a living a relationship with our Abba to drilling with flash cards! But lately I’ve come to appreciate this practice because I’m discovering that so doing helps me to concentrate on God and practice His presence when my thoughts are flying hither and thither. While the act of memorizing scripture holds less appeal when compared with lovely jog on the beach, I remember that Yeshua is the Living Word, and that He says in John 15:7 ‘if you abide in Me, My word abides in You’. Another sense of the word ‘abide’ is ‘to partake’. So, by the very act of memorizing scripture, I am actually ‘partaking’ of Him! I find that they become part of me on the inside and tend to resurface into my conscious mind during the very moments when I need their wisdom, guidance and strength to help me to resist sin the most. (This is by no means a new discovery; many others have incorporated this practice for ages.)
One of my favorite verses is from Romans 1:2 ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ I am certainly in need of transformation, so renewing my mind with scripture helps (a good jog on the beach wouldn’t hurt me either!). I’ve recently begun to take baby steps back into movement by taking prayer walks, using my Walkman to listen to scripture and music simultaneously!
So, there is hope for those of us to have a living relationship with Our Abba in the midst of our whirlwind lives. Thanks, Dianele, for your weekly reminders of His wonderful grace. I am now in the process of trying to grown in intimacy with the Ruach HaKodesh.
Hugz in HaShem –