Today’s post is by my friend Crystal Holt, who’s a worship leader at New Hope Community Church. She is what Jesus (in the Gospel of John) called a “true worshiper”–one who worships him in spirit and in truth. I hope that you will listen to her gentle exhortation.
While I was getting my two-year-old son, Peter, ready for nap, he exclaimed, “More Jesus loves me! More Jesus loves me!” We had been singing his favorite song, “Jesus Loves Me,” and he was hungry for more. We sang the chorus again. His face gleamed–he was completely full, totally satisfied in that moment. As I laid him in his bed for nap, I prayed with him, thanking God for Peter’s love of singing about Jesus. As I prayed, I noticed a small tug of envy in my heart.
I could still see Peter’s radiant smile as he said, “More Jesus loves me!” I could still see that look of absolute contentment and joy as we sang together. And I thought to myself, “Wow, I wish I longed for more of Jesus like that.” The precious, simple love that children exude is unmatchable. I in that moment, I longed to be like a child—like Peter, just wanting more and more of Jesus.
A few weeks ago I was casually walking outside in my backyard, holding my six month old son, Joshua. I began to pray and for the first time in awhile, I said, “Lord, I want to listen to what you’re saying, help me to hear your voice.” Shortly after that, the Lord began to speak. It’s amazing how eager the Lord is to speak to us, if only we would truly listen. One of the things I felt the Lord impress strongly on my heart was this statement: “Busy, busy people–too busy to pray, too busy to hear my voice, too busy to follow my will, too busy for Me.”
I knew immediately the Holy Spirit was referring to Christians. The Lord continued to speak about how we are so wrapped up in our own concerns that the Lord’s concerns are no longer priority. We’re simply too busy for His agenda–ours is too consuming! Of course, this also described my life as a Christian very well.
Finally I said, “So Lord, what can we do?” I felt the Holy Spirit impress on my heart this word: “Dwell.” Just dwell. Stay here in my presence. Enjoy Me. Don’t be in such a hurry to be done with Me. Don’t treat me like a check box on your “to-do” list. Dwell with Me. I was reminded of a gospel song I used to listen to.
The song is about being in God’s presence. In between verses that the choir is singing, the artist says in an exasperated tone: “Now that we’re in the presence of God, let’s just stay here. Just dwell! Just stay awhile!” It was as if he was saying: “don’t be in such a hurry to walk away–just enjoy the presence of God! Delight in Him. Just stay here a little longer!”
So, as I walked around outside, I hesitantly decided I would pray a little longer, I would stay a little longer. I felt my prayer time was reasonably sufficient, but it would have been pretty pathetic if I‘d rejoiced that God had spoken to me, yet hadn’t applied what God was saying in that moment!
So I tried it. I stayed a little longer. And it was fantastic. Rich. Such a sweet, filling time with God. I felt a sense of purpose, joy, excitement. I began to sing and worship in song. I began to intercede for the lost. I prayed for needs around me. I thanked God for His character. And it was good.
I wish I could say I now live my life every day in this way, dwelling and savoring His presence all day. But I haven’t. However, I am growing more and more in my hunger to do so. And I have had similar moments of just enjoying God since. I’m reminded more and more by the Holy Spirit to just dwell. Lord, help me to obey when I hear your voice.
I’ve learned that I can stay and dwell in His presence while doing very ordinary things. While sitting on the floor and playing with my kids, while walking around outside, while doing the dishes, while driving in the car. I can enjoy and savor God anywhere. Long gone are the days when I had three hours of solitude to sing to God and read my Bible. With very young children, I’ve learned to improvise and be less legalistic about “quiet time.” God is more concerned with me abiding in Him all day than he is in me spending an hour with Him and leaving Him behind for the rest of the day.
Disconnecting from the Internet, my phone, my iPad, etc. helps me to be more in tune with God. Neglecting all the emails, phone calls and texts allows me to be more still, less preoccupied with transient things and more available to enjoy God—and my family.
It’s actually very freeing to be disconnected. Obviously, we need to eventually check our phones, emails, etc. But it doesn’t need to be every three minutes. Like my husband says in regards to disconnecting, “We’re not really that important.” What if, instead of being constantly connected and reachable to others, we were constantly connected and reachable to God? Ouch. I’m feeling convicted…
So Lord, help us to be like children, exclaiming, “More Jesus loves me!” Help us to have a passion, desire and longing to just savor and enjoy the glory and beauty of your presence. Help us to have a desire to just be still, and listen to your voice. Let us dwell, remind us to “just stay awhile.” Thank you in advance for the honor and privilege of allowing us to enjoy your glorious presence. In Jesus name, Amen.