When I graduated from George Fox Seminary, Mary Kate Morse, Professor of Leadership & Spiritual Formation, gave a very simple graduation speech. Her encouragement to us was to remember three words - wherever our feet would take us in the world. Whether folding laundry, running errands or with our feet on the ground holding orphans kids in Africa, Mary Kate encouraged us to utilize a simple breath prayer, "You are here."
The "you" she was referring to is God. A remembrance that God is with us always - as, indeed, we often say or repeat. It is actually equally important to recognize "self" is here too - more on that next week. This simple practice of breathing this reminder prayer, "You are here" allows us to bring to awareness what we say we believe is true. Right? We say we know from Scripture - and in fact God has told us very explicitly - that God is with us always (Matt 28:20). We know that the Holy Spirit is with us and that God will never (no never no never) leave us or forsake us (Deut 31.6; Heb 13.5). God's heart to be with their people is sprinkled throughout the Bible.
But perhaps one of the most blantant intimate recordings of God's "withness" is in Psalm 139: 7ff (The Message)
Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
You're already there waiting.
You're already there waiting - in that tough conversation I have to have with my spouse/boss/child/friend.
You're already there waiting as I wait to hear test results.
You're already there waiting when I walk home to an empty house at the end of the day.
You're already there waiting - You are here.
These two prayers can be so helpful to remind us of God's loving presence that is, truly, with us always.
So today - before you step into the rest of whatever is known (and unknown) on your schedule - imagine that God is already there waiting. Imagine walking into that tough meeting - knowing that God is already there waiting. Or imagine having a no-show and you having some extra time on your hands - God is already there waiting. Imagine going into that pub to meet a friend for a pint - God is already there waiting.
- Take a moment to "think forward" into the rest of what's on your docket for the day: pick one situation that seems the most difficult for you. Imagine yourself going into that space/place with the expectancy of God already being there waiting.
- Take note of how this thought impacts your day - both now in the expecting and in the event.
- When you feel a little frenzy in your soul utilize the breath prayer, "You are here" to remind your heart that God is with you. Gently notice any "yeah, but" thoughts or resistance to believing it...and add, "I believe, help my disbelief" if you need to.