Psalm 4:7

Psalm 4:7
(The Voice)

You (God) have filled me with joy, and happiness has risen in my heart, great delight and unrivaled joy, even more than when bread abounds and wine flows freely.

I spent 3 glorious years in an environment where it was relatively easy to stay in community, feel connected, be accountable, get encouraged, loved upon, fed, pampered, cheered on, and be reminded to stay positive and happy.

You could say it was a season where bread abounded and wine flowed freely.

Then I left.
I love God.

He took me from the place I most wanted to be at that time, to the place I least wanted to go to; the place I in many ways feared the most. I didn’t want to go back there, but still felt compelled to do so.
And, what often happens as you go back somewhere is that you’ll find that you’ve conquered what used to terrify and intimidate you.

When God leads you back to something from the past, it’s not to hurt or punish you, but in order to give you victory over it, and so that you can become fully healed.

The place I came back to is a place where one definitely have to be more intentional about getting basic spiritual and emotional needs met. Opportunities for accountability and encouragement aren’t chasing you down every 10 minutes.

This isn’t a place where you can simply lean back, enjoy the ride and think that you’re doing good.

It’s more like this:
You look at the external circumstances and know that this must be God giving you that joy, peace, wisdom, encouragement, courage, strength, etc, cause it’s certainly no one else around to do it, and the situation seldom explains it either.
And knowing this makes the joy and peace even more exciting and overwhelming!

No, I’m not saying there hasn’t been any external source of joy and peace or anyone encouraging me. Oh no.

But there’s certainly been more of the

“This must be God making me so glad, cause what else would right now!?!?” moments,

– and THAT makes me even more happy!

I’ve had so many experiences this year; I would say more than ever before, where the joy feels unbearable, in a good way. It’s almost like a lightheadedness, an energy boost, a deep peace filled with vibrant life, like you’re about to burst.

There’s a joy and peace that truly surpasses everything coming their way. And I believe that this is just the beginning.

And because of this; the joy of the Lord, I would rather be “alone” and have Him, than be surrounded by great people and circumstances where I still didn’t know His joy and peace the way I do now.

Thank You, God, for taking me to a place where Your love, joy, peace and light speaks even louder, where I cannot for a second doubt the source of my joy. Thank You for filling me with unrivaled joy!
Thank You for Your joy which is available to anyone who wants it!

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Being Present

One of the things I’m amazed by is.. our abundance of, yet lack of presence.

How can we be available to a vast number of people at the same time, potentially millions around the globe, and still be unavailable to the one sitting next to us?

I am with someone; they are less than 3 feet away from me. We are talking. Eating. Watching a movie. But they aren’t present. Not to me. Every now and then (or sometimes all the time), they’ll be checking their phones, or ipad, or some other device.

I understand everyone’s different. It doesn’t matter to everyone.

But to me – it feels like they’re not present.

They’re choosing to read, like, comment on, or post something about something or someone, instead of postponing it until later on, when they’re alone anyways.

Choosing to be present at some level with everyone else in the world, means choosing to not be as fully present to the ones closer to you.

Selah.

In our day and age we tend to think we can be known by and know everyone, and be everywhere.

I don’t think so. Some people are said to be good at multi-tasking. But really, we’re not made to multi-task. If you multi-task really well you simply shift your focus from one task to another, and then back again, really fast. But it doesn’t do you much good in the long run. Especially not when it comes to relationships.

Still though, if I want to have a conversation with you, I’d rather you not use your multi-tasking skills on me. I do not want you to shift your focus every 30 seconds, although that’s very impressive.

Actually, I’d be more impressed with someone who can give me, or anyone, their undivided attention for more than five minutes.

It might feel like a lot of work to shut out everything else and be fully present for one person at a time. Actually, it usually is a lot of work. But your hard work will give back a hundred-fold come harvest time.

Being present to “everyone” will eventually wear you thin. It seems easier to do, but it won’t give you or anyone else a crop to sustain you.

We all tend to want everything. We don’t want to miss out.
As you choose one thing, though, you have to let go of something else.
If you try to get everything, you’ll do poorly at most, if not all, of your prospects.
If you’re afraid to miss out, and therefore try hard to not miss anything, you’ll still miss out.

Let’s try this again:
As you let go of some things, you’ll have more time and energy left for other things.
If you focus on one thing at a time, there’s a great possibility you’ll excel in that one thing.                                                     If you decide that you’re OK with missing out on some things, you won’t actually miss out, but instead you’ll be fully present where you’re at.

The greatest present you can give your loved ones – and yourself, today, is presence.