I settled down in the lawn chair, looking out into the changing colors of the woods, wrapping my blanket around my legs. The air was cool, a slight breeze picking up every now and then. The sun was shining down on my face through the trees, warming me.
I reached into my backpack and pulled out my Jesus Calling devotional. It was a random place to start, but I thought maybe it would give me some direction on how to spend my time. I flipped to the date: October 13. “Take time to be still in My Presence…Relax in My holy Presence while My Face shines upon you.” I raised my eyebrow at the sun peeking through the leaves. Decidedly, I closed the book and went to Spotify to turn on my worship playlist. I hadn’t yet committed to Spotify Premium, so the first thing to play was the “watch this video and get thirty minutes ad-free” ad. Alright, I thought, thirty minutes of just being still.
So I sat there. Thirty full minutes. I let the wind blow around me, the sun shine on me, and the sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling and lawn mowers churning swirl into one. It wasn’t a perfect thirty minutes. My mind wandered several times. I caught myself thinking and worrying over work, the pandemic, events in the news, even about what I would write in this post. Rather than shaming myself and discounting the time I had already spent, I would just bring myself back to the stillness of body and mind. I would focus in on the words of the song playing or just simply say “Jesus,” re-centering myself on my purpose. I didn’t get any visions or words from God or divine revelations. Just thirty minutes of stillness in the presence of my Jesus.
That has been my problem lately: expecting something “big” out of my time with God. When I read the Bible I expect the passage to be a direct correlation to my life. When I pray I expected His voice telling me all the dates of when my prayers will be answered. When I journal I expect solutions to my problems. When I close my eyes I expect visions and dreams. I have had my hands extended greedily, waiting for God to drop what I think I deserve, what I think I need. I’m not going to Him to just be with Him, I’m going to Him to receive something more.
My attitude has been set on the fact that I wasn’t receiving anything big from him, rather than the fact that He has already given me the ultimate gift: Himself. I’ve been treating God like a genie: expecting things from Him and throwing my hands up in frustration when something doesn’t go my way. But I’ve missed the point: God doesn’t owe me anything, yet He has promised me so much. He promises His peace. He promises His love. He promises His Spirit to dwell in me. He promises His Son. He promises eternity. I’ve been a selfish daughter, demanding more of a Heavenly Father that has already given me everything.
So this thirty minutes of stillness was exactly what my soul needed out of a reset. Thirty minutes to just be with Him. To remember what it is to sit in His presence without greed harbored in my heart.
“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”