It was early one morning and I was sitting with my Jesus, trying to be present, trying to be still, trying to listen. The moment wasn’t about communication with words. It was about being where He was. About making a physical statement that I wasn’t trying to move away. About opening my heart rather than trying to fix it on my own. About getting quiet enough to see what would happen and how He would lead our time together.
And parts of the experience were so frustrating.
I would start to form words to talk with Him when I sensed I just needed to sit, to be present, to be still, to listen. My mind would begin to wander to things I tried to convince myself were important… that were important… and I’d sense the need to sit, to be present, to be still and to listen. To park them in the proverbial parking lot so He and I could get to them later while we did this other, more pressing work in our relationship. Eventually, my thoughts slowed down and the mental distractions diminished.
Then my heart began to weigh in. Emotions unexpectedly emerged. As Jesus asked me to sit there in my office that morning, it was representative of how it has felt as He’s asked me to sit here during this prolonged season of life. Where the most exciting thing He’s asked of me some days is to sit, to be present, to be still, to listen. I found myself feeling so unvalued. So unloved. And by extension, so unvalue-able and so unloved-able. I had recently watched many near me get really great, fun and exciting assignments…opportunities that have taken them to really great, fun and exciting places to serve Him, to love His people and those who are on their way to becoming His people. I couldn’t help but feel that my assignment during the same time must indicate something of how He feels about me. That my greatest contribution must be getting out of other people’s and His way.
By sitting with my Jesus, by being present, by being still and listening, I was putting myself in a position for important but hidden things in my heart to emerge. To hear Him speak to me about those things. And oh, how I needed to hear Him speak to me! One thing I’ve learned about walking with Jesus over the years…while He may not always change my external circumstances…when He speaks, He always changes my internal condition. He always changes something in me. He always changes me.
Sitting, being present, being still and listening are doors to relationship with Him. Microphones that allow me to hear His voice when normal life might drown Him out. Hammers that bust up the box I try to put Him in. Tender embraces where He holds me close and with great affection.
Life ebbs and flows in seasons. Some appearing busier than others to the untrained eye. Some falling into different categories by the world’s method of categorizing things – like usefulness, value, love. God’s cycle of seasons can look very different than our preferences, His categories defying our natural predilections. What appears to some as dormant on the outside can be bustling with activity on the inside. Healing from the past. Preparation for the future. Special gifts in the present that would go unnoticed if life were busier. What I think may be a statement of low worth and lack of love can actually be a powerful indicator of great worth and deep love. God is surprising and mysterious that way.
What I thought that morning was the pinnacle of passivity became a most powerful and active demonstration of His love in my life. And it was open to me because I was willing to learn to sit, to be present, to be still and to listen.