In recent weeks I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be practicing the discipline of Presence. And I’ve been doing so because in today’s world, with everything that clamours for our attention, not to mention the effects of sin, it is easy to get distracted from the thing(s) that matter most. Namely, relationship. Relationship with God and others. It requires discipline to stay focused, to stay attentive, to stay present, and it also requires intentionality on our part.
I have spent the past five days away at my trailer camping. Camping has been a love since my late teens and has happened nearly every year since I graduated from high school (that was way back in 1987!). There’s something about nature that is soothing and restorative to my soul. The fresh air, the sound of birds singing (I’m sure they’re singing praises!), the way the leaves rustle when the wind blows through, the crackling sound from a great campfire, the ability to ride my bike or take long walks, the space to breathe and read my Bible and attend to the noise within my soul – all of these experiences are precious to me. Everyone is different, but for me, camping has always been restorative.
Now back to this idea or discipline of Practicing Presence. Maybe you’re wondering what it is. Here’s a brief description (if you’re at Simon House Ladies Retreat in September, I’ll be sharing more about it there): “It is a way we keep our soul awake to God.” It’s about being attentive to the ways in which God is present and active with us, in our world, and in others. It’s a way of loving Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and being attentive to his redeeming work in and among us. The question is never is God at work, it is, rather, where is God at work.
Here are some things I’ve been reminded of this week as my soul has been in a place of being awake to God:
Some questions for you to ponder.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you, and may you experience God this week in loving and transformational ways.
Note: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlbert Calhoun is a great resource and is where any quotes above came from.
Here’s a couple photos from my last few days.