It is the second week of January, how are you doing with your resolutions and plans for 2018? This year I decided to be kind to myself and ease into the New Year, you can learn more about that in my Happy New Year!. After a hectic holiday season, and wanting to linger in the remaining days of 2017, I had no choice. 2018 came in with a roar!
Through prayer and thoughtful meditation with the Lord, one word has come up over and over, and I believe it is my one word for 2018. Presence not to be confused with presents, although it can be a gift.
My first encounter with the word presence came as I was reading through the book of Jonah. Jonah is more than just a story of a man and a big fish. Jonah is the story of a man with a calling on his life who tries to run away from his destiny and hide from God.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. – Jonah 1:1-3 ESV
Jonah gets a word from God. God doesn’t need Jonah to fulfill his plan, but the Lord graciously chooses to use Jonah to fulfill his divine purposes. How cool is that? Jonah knows exactly what his calling is and why he is here on this earth! And what does Jonah do? He runs the other way! He tries to flee the very presence of the Lord.
Does he think there is a place he can go where the Lord can’t find him? Maybe a more poignant question would be… do we think we can run and hide from God?
Psalm 139:8 is clear,
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
Hiding from God is a futile exercise, HE is intimately acquainted with us. He sees our heart and knows our sin. We can’t run and we can’t hide!
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
God is with us. Our Heavenly Father lavishly loves us and is ever present in our lives. I don’t ever want to take that for granted. Instead, I want to fully embrace my calling but in order to do that first.
Before I can pour out my cup to anyone, my husband, my children, my neighbors, friends or blog readers my cup must be filled first by the only one who can fulfill the deepest longings within my soul, so that I have something to share with others. This requires me to linger in the presence of the most Holy and be filled.
Over and over the word, presence kept coming up. And questions filled my mind.
- How often am I distracted during my quiet time?
- When I am with others am I fully present, or am I thinking about something else?
- Where am I in this present moment? Am I fully here?
Am I distracted by the device in my hand, or am I present with the ones I love.
The Antonym of Presence
Absence is the opposite of presence. If I am praying and my mind wonders I am absent. If I am having dinner with my family and we are all mindlessly scrolling on our phones than I am absent. If I am talking with a friend, but thinking about my to-do list, then I am most certainly absent!
Sometimes in order to be more present, we must be careful to choose our absence, as I was so gently reminded today by Emily P Freeman on her podcast The Next Right Thing. I may have to let go of good things, in order to have time for the best things.
My desire for this year is to be aware of my presence and to live intentionally and with purpose. Choosing to linger long in the Word of God focusing my prayers and meditations. Being fully present wherever I am, whether it is in my quiet time, with my family or a friend.
What is your prayer for the New Year?
My hope for the new year is that my Presence will bring me to new victorious heights with the Lord in 2018.
Would you like to live more victoriously in 2018?
Then do I have a treat for you! My sweet friend, Amy Elaine Martinez has written a book entitled Becoming a Victory Girl and it is jammed packed full of wisdom and encouragement to live in victory. If you are struggling to live in victory then you need to grab a copy of this book it is available for sale on Amazon.
With God on our side, we can face our battles standing on flourishing faith not our floundering feelings. – Becoming A Victory Girl
I am so excited that Amy has given me a copy of this encouraging book to share with one of you! To be entered for a chance to win a copy of Becoming a Victory Girl share this post with your friends on social media with the hashtag #IamAVictoryGirl anytime through the month of January 2018.
Please leave me a comment below and let me know that you shared this post to be eligible to win. The winner will be announced February 1, 2018.