“Rejoice in the Lord always again I say rejoice, let your gentleness be made known to everyone t. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything but in prayer and supplications with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.” (Philippians 4: 4-6)
I went into Hobby Lobby the other day hoping to find a birthday gift for my sister-in-law Laurie. She is a gardener and I had seen some fun garden décor that I thought she might enjoy. I went only to discover that there was not one summer item left in their merchandise and that not only was all the Fall décor forty percent off but all their Christmas merchandise was on display! This was on July 21, only one month into summer. Christmas in July? Aren’t they rushing it a little?
It seems to me that we are always standing on tip toe in expectation for the next great thing to happen. The problem with that is we never fully enjoy what is happening right now. When you will be reading this it will be August 1st. August, the last hurrah of Summer. Warm nights when stars shoot across the sky; the lakes at their warmest invite swimmers to take a plunge; the flowers crowd out the weeds; farmer markets begin the peak vegetable season and county fairs are in abundance. August the splendor of summer, here for our enjoyment if we live into it.
So what if we decide to be present? Really present. Taking each moment and savoring it for what it is. It isn’t easy to do. We are so trained to be thinking ahead. Living into the thing or event that is to come rather than enjoying what we are doing in the moment. Worrying about tomorrow as if that is an honorable thing to do. God has given us this day and this day only. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. God has promised that no matter what happens “The Lord is near”. If the Lord is near at all times we can settle down. We can breathe. We can let go of needless worry and relax in God’s presence. We can experience the joy of each and every day.
Spiritual Practice Exercise:
What you will need – paper and pencil or laptop.
Time – 10 minutes
Make yourself comfortable in a pleasing space in which you will not be disturbed by anyone.
Make two columns and list things you are worried about in one column and the statement “God is near” in the other.
Example: Things that I am worrying about now
How I will handle all the homework in college - God is near.
My doctor’s appointment next week – God is near.
My son’s/daughter’s relationship with me – God is near
Make another list of two columns listing things you are experiencing in the here and now
Example: Things I am experiencing at this present moment
I am watching kids playing outside and they are laughing. – God is near.
I hear the fan running – God is near
I smell the aroma of bacon - God is near.
Try this several times throughout the week for several weeks and see if you become less anxious and more aware of God’s presence in your everyday life.