Most folks I know struggle with presence — they're either stuck in the past or fixated on the future.
Yet, we find life in the present moment. And the path to living in the present is delightful.
The Path to Presence
We learn presence through delight. Delight forces us to rearrange our activity toward an experience of lingering, patience, and stillness.
Slowing down can feel like inactivity, but we lean into a moment when we delight.
Consider how David puts all these ideas of seeking, dwelling, and delighting together:
"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." (Psalm 27:4)
Notice the verbs. Asking and seeking are words of intense activity.
Far from passive imagery, David imports visions of hot pursuit into our imagination. But notice the following verb — dwell.
Intense pursuit manifests itself in the experience of inhabiting the space of God's presence. David's intentional activity moves him toward a goal of being with the Lord.
The two final verbs bring it all together — to gaze and inquire. The word "inquire" is the same Hebrew word "seek" that we see at first.
The search for being in the Lord's presence finds its culmination through gazing upon the Lord's beauty. Isn't that just another way of saying to delight in the Lord?
This is why the NLT translates this verse, "delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple."
Walking the Path
Being present looks like paying attention to the painful parts of your life, but it also resembles an earnest pursuit of enjoyment.
As we've seen, presence comes through delighting in God and his world. Think about how refreshed you feel after:
Experiencing a fantastic evening with friends
Savoring an incredible meal or
Soaking in the sun on a gorgeous day.
This idea of delight takes us back to the notion of a sabbath. We sabbath to enjoy God and the good gifts he gives. Like God, on the seventh day, we take an extended break from our work to step back and enjoy the goodness of His world.
Walking Any Path Takes Effort
Now don't be fooled — delight takes time. Delight demands we slow down. Delight requires patience and cultivation. It's not instant but a process.
Yet enjoying God and the gifts he gives is how you move from a frantic search for identity in what you do to a grounded experience of being a child in His presence.
Enjoyment requires faith to trust that God is a good Father who gives good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11).
Do you want to become more present in your life?
Here's an untraditional suggestion:
Find an activity you genuinely enjoy.
Get as into that activity as you can.
Remind yourself that God is with you.
Learning to enjoy God's good gifts trains us to enjoy Him. And enjoyment creates a deep well of gratitude that might change your whole outlook on life. This article is an adaptation of my book Sabbaticals: How to Take a Break from Ministry before Ministry Breaks You.
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