Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to grow with God-in both my understanding and knowledge of Him and also in just being in His presence-finding moments in which I can ascend up the hill and commune with my Lord. It is at a moment like this when I must remind myself that God is not to be found in the extraordinary moments-church service, Bible study, meditating. (I deem those moments extraordinary because they are times set aside for God. God cannot be compartmentalized; He can be found in every moment. In fact, from my experience it seems to be true that when I lose sight of God in the everyday moments and let the things of life distract me from His reality, sometimes that carries over into being distracted and perhaps altogether withdrawn from His reality in the extraordinary moments. To lose sight of God, from my experience, is like being disoriented underwater in the dark. You know the very thing that you so desperately need to live, the air, but you are so distracted in your despair to notice the details in the water, the glimmer of light that shows the way upward, the very thing that can save you. When I feel restless in life and despair and discouragement creeping in I have learned that that's an indicator that I've lost sight of God momentarily. So, Iv'e learned to seek Him in every moment, or at least try to.
For He is in every moment as well as outside of every moment. I firmly believe that the only reality as humans that we can realize and experience personally can only be found in the present moment. Events that happen in the past are for sure things worthy to reflect on but they become muddied and blurred through time. We tend to add details subconsciously, with or without intention, as well as bury details in our subconscious without even realizing. The reality of the past is continually shifting, with or without us willfully having a part in its metamorphosis. It, therefore, cannot be deemed as true, objective reality. We can learn things from the past, but we should reflect and meditate on it cautiously and with the knowledge that our perspective is limited and compromised.
But the present moment, that is a whole other animal, if I can describe it in such a way. The present is where I can find God at any time. At this very moment He is here and all His glory manifested through the natural world is here. All of it is just waiting to be noticed. When I bring my whole self-my attention and alertness with me, while I read scripture it is then when I start to feel the Spirit, it is then when scripture comes alive before me. It is one thing to read something with a tone of mediocrity-perhaps reading the words but thinking about what you just ate or the things you have yet to do today. We are not really reading in the true sense when we read like this. We are not absorbing and letting ourselves take in the whole depth and reality of the words. When we read this way, it's a true shame. I know when I catch myself reading this way I could probably write a short summary of what I've read but it would be as if I described what I saw without my glasses on. I'd see the trees, that there was a river, perhaps rocks, but I would miss altogether the beautiful spider dangling precariously yet with ease from the tip of a leaf, or the minnows darting in the shadows of the river's edge, or perhaps I'd miss the chipmunk scurrying through the underbrush, because my mind was not in the present but elsewhere.
Our thoughts tend to invade the space in our mind all too much when really what we need more of is silence. It is when I still my mind and turn to my Creator that I experience Him in some of the deepest ways I've known. This doesn't necessarily mean I have to sit alone in a room or at the river's edge to experience Him at the present moment, though I oftentimes do when I get the chance. It means I clear my mind completely of all other thoughts and turn to Him. There are more ways to do this then there are people. I can do this during worship, during prayer, while reading scripture, while meditating. Simply put, it is giving God my undivided attention-and doesn't He deserve that from all of us?
As I write this my children are playing at the table where I write. If ever there were to be distractions children sure provide them! Sometimes I feel filled with so many distractions and needless tasks (sweeping, doing the dishes, laundry) it can be discouraging. But then I remember that God is also in those moments. He is in my children's smiles. When I am in the present moment with my children I see opportunities that I would not have seen otherwise for instructing and encouraging them and sharing a moment of laughter or joy that will become part of their own memories. He is what keeps my heart beating while I perform menial tasks that, no matter how mundane to me, serve His purpose for they provide order and stability for our home and are necessary. I see God's handiwork in the spider trying to make a web in our house. I reflect on her beauty and her purpose as I carefully relocate her outside. And it causes me to bring praise to my God. Yes, a spider provokes me to praise! That might sound silly-but have you ever looked at a spider? It's detail? In fact, have you ever really looked at anything of nature in detail? I ask, because I, myself , hadn't until too long ago. I always loved nature, but I looked at it without really seeing it. When I was inspired and learned to really see that which is around me in all it's detail I found an amazing thing happens. It's as if the whole world opens itself up to you. All these details-sights, sounds, etc., all these usually unnoticed happenings rise out of the obscurity they are usually hidden in and become etched with detail on reality's canvas and when that happens it's not hard to have the desire to fall on my knees and praise the Creator of all those things! The conductor of all of life's orchestra is playing the most beautiful song imagined to all that will just take the moment to still their minds and listen to it.
It is then in those moments, especially when surrounded by nature, that I realize the interconnectedness of it all. God has made the natural world in such order, all life depends on all other life, including our own. We are all connected, whether we want to recognize it or not. As humans we might be set aside in the image of God, we have for sure an elevated position in the scheme of things, but we still need the things of nature that God has provided. As the leaves expel oxygen we breathe out carbon dioxide for them to absorb, giving them life as they emit life giving oygen through their cells, giving us life's breath each given moment. And God is the designer of this whole process! I mean, just that symbiotic process alone is amazing! (to me anyways!) So, I think there is definitely something to the fact that so many people feel so close to God in the natural world. It is a living breathing testament to the amazing reality and love of our great God. I think it's a great place to be to dwell on His truths, but that it's important to also look for Him in all the places we find ourselves in, for He is everywhere and can be found by any of us, in the present moment with open hearts.