Only Half Alive?
Humans were made by God and made to be with God in all of life. Not just when we need help or watch beautiful sunsets. Without God as the companion of our souls, we are only half alive.
This means inviting God to invade every aspect of our lives—thoughts, feelings, desires for our life, routine interactions with people. Just as Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God) experienced God in the midst of washing dishes, we do the same as we mow a lawn, play volleyball or rock a baby. This requires some intentionality. Brother Lawrence did things that brought God to mind all day long. For that reason my office especially has pictures and stickers and goofy notes that help me not to forget.
Gradually we learn to “sense” God’s presence. I say “sense” instead of “feel” because God’s presence is so multi-dimensional. It’s beyond feeling and may not always include the feelings we would expect. The more we ask God to help us with this, the more we develop that sense: a deep knowing that God is with us and wishes to interact with us all day long.
One result is that we progressively begin doing things in the name, presence and power of Jesus Christ. We gradually become more generous and forgiving, more adventurous and confident. We don’t try to make this happen. It’s organic because we humans become like those we hang out with. Jesus rubs off on us guiding us through phone call and texts, shopping decisions, or comments offered to encourage someone.
Another result is that routine tasks—that jumbled mess in the garage—becomes an invitation to play. What blessings are hidden in that mess? How might I arrange it in a way that is lovely but also super-useful?! People can actually find what they need! Our outward activities of life become infused with a powerful inward connection with God. 1 + 1 = 10 instead of 2. Each day in a new invitation from God into adventure.
Our lives then are no longer compartmentalized. In business, I learn to care about other people not just the product. If a task is difficult, I don’t complain to and about family members or colleagues. All of life becomes one piece. As we say in 12-step, we become “the same person all the time.”
We begin by simply giving “our entire attention to what God was doing right now” (Matt 6:34 MSG). At first we have to make an effort. It’s not so much working but an alert, expectant waiting and being open to surprise. And being delighted at surprises. Those small things that surprise us all day long are God’s way of letting us know that we’re truly living a with-God life.
Grace and peace,