“I told you guys I need peace this morning!”
I had just prayed that the Lord would help me know what to write about for this blog post. He answered quickly. Without skipping a beat, my husband let the dog loose to come upstairs. “I thought it would be fun for you and the kids”, he said. The kids started playing baseball in my room. Their squealing and scrapping for the ball were too much for me after our long day yesterday. After two back to back three-hour dance recitals, I needed a quiet and slow morning.
I wasn’t getting it!
Even as I stared at my empty blog post screen, contemplating practicing the presence of God, the answers to that question that I know and had just thought upon eluded me. This is the very reason I know I need to practice God’s presence. Because it is too easy for my flesh to forget. It was easy for me to act out impetuously. That word, impetuous, came to mind again. The word that had come to me quite often this past week as I’d pondered this third way to practice the presence of God from Brother Lawrence’s writings. I’d even looked up the definition:
Acting or done quickly and without thought or care. Impulsive, rash, hasty, overhasty, reckless, heedless, careless, foolhardy, bullheaded, headstrong, incautious, imprudent, injudicious, ill-considerate.
Moving forcefully or rapidly. Torrential, powerful, forceful, vigorous, violent, raging, uncontrolled.
The Lord had successfully shown me many examples from my life this past week of impetuous actions.
And this example from this morning is one in a list of many. I see a direct correlation between acting impetuously and not getting something I think I need. Most often time is playing a factor in the scenario and it plays out easily when it feels that a there is a shortage of it. Most often it involves children and work.
What are we to do when we aren’t getting what we think we need?
We must remember!
We’ve come to the third of Brother Lawrence’s six ways necessary to develop the spiritual life in The Practice of the Presence of God. In case you missed my last three posts, they are linked below:
The First Way (Finding Constant pleasure in His divine company)
The Second Way (Conversing with God in little ways while we do our work)
The third way is just as simple and doesn’t take any more time than what I would take to react to life thoughtlessly and hastily. In fact, in the long run, I’m confident that it saves time.
The third way is to do everything with great care.
“We must do everything with great care, avoiding impetuous actions, which are evidence of a disordered spirit. God wishes us to work gently, calmly, and lovingly with Him, asking Him to accept our work. By this continual attention to God, we will “resist the devil and cause him to flee” (James 4:7).
What was it that Jesus said when his disciples forgot Him in the face of a struggle?
“And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:26).
Jesus Himself is our peace and our calm in life’s storms.
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 131).
I would love to have this attitude at all times in life. Not just when tempted towards impetuous actions towards people, but also when I’m simply carrying out daily errands and tasks. What feels like lonely chores, can be turned into times of worship.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17)
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).
Haste does make waste! Haste in our words wastes relationships. Haste even in our most private of actions wastes worship with God.
Because remembering God in all we do, is worship.
And is haste a result of being too self-focused?
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16).
So often where I act impetuously, is where I am forgetting to remember the Lord and my impact on others and I’m remembering only my own ambitions. A focus on only me can almost always easily equal a lack of self-control.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
What feels like a strong state to be in, is actually quite broken and vulnerable.
Is your soul longing for your mind and body to slow down? Do you think Jesus longs for you to slow down?
In the midst of asking myself these questions and answering yes to both of them, I have been comforted as I remember some good news!
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
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Here are final three ways I’ll be covering in the next weeks:
Stopping for a few minutes – as often as possible – to praise God (Next Week!)
Adoring God in faith
Carefully examining ourselves
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Linking up this week with these encouraging blogs: