The Hard Work Of: Being Present
Tell me if you can relate. You are in a social setting by choice. You are with people you care about. You get into a deep conversation with them and then for whatever reason, you check out and miss part of the conversation. It happens easy enough, right? Everyone has their mind wander from time to time, right? It happens to me more than I care to admit. In my case, my mind most often wonders because I'm thinking of what has to be done or said next. While we might agree this type of "checking out" is normal, that doesn't make it right; and what's worse, it shows I'm not trusting God and giving into fear. Because of this lack of trust and giving into fear, I've potentially missed out on what God was doing.
I don't trust well or easily. I let fear and unbelief become bigger than what I know about God and ruin what He is teaching me as well as what He is trying to do through me. How easily I forget verses like:
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:5 ESV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5 ESV)
It's my lack of trust in the character of God that has me start relying on my wisdom instead of His.
As a pastor, I'm supposed to have the answers. I'm supposed to know what to say and what to do. At least that's the way I feel sometimes. Because I know I don't have all the answers and rarely know for certainty what the next step is, I'm tempted to (and often times do) give into fear and cave to my lack of trust in God the Holy Spirit and start trying to figure it out on my own. I forget Scripture like Matthew 10:19 & 20:
When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:19-20 ESV)
Because of this fear, I take things into my own hands and mind, which rarely, if ever, works out.
So now what?
How do I (or we) overcome this kind of fear and lack of trust? We remember and we repent.
We remember who the Lord is. We remember what He has done and what He has promised to do. We remember His mercy and His grace. We remember the cross and what our relationship with Him cost Him. We remember daily. We remember hourly or even minutely if necessary.
It's also necessary that we repent. We repent of our unbelief. We repent of attempting to control every situation. We repent of planning when we should be listening. We repent as often as it's necessary.
For it's in our remembering and repenting that trust will grow and fear will be destroyed. All your plans and words are nothing compared the holy designs of God. Being present puts you in a much better position to be used by God.