by Rhonda Rhea
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures. Psalm 16:11 CSB
Have you ever been tagged—maybe trapped—in a group text? You’re begging your phone. Please, not one more notification. And your phone answers with: zzzzzt.
Even worse, you go to bed early while the other 30 in your group have a night owl session. Get up the next morning, get your coffee, and get comfy. I know it’s your day off, but turn off that show you wanted to watch and don’t even think about reading a book. Because you have four thousand messages.
I’m sorry, but I’ve got news for you. The only way to escape is to change your number. And your name. Maybe your appearance. Also your place of residence. You should probably go ahead and plan your move to France.
Croissants. These are your life now.
Interesting note, if it’s a direct message you’re trapped in, don’t think it’s an easier exit. Because if you dare depart the group conversation, your abandonment is sirened to everyone in there. “____ has left the group.” With, of course, the implied shame, “She no longer cares about any of us. Or our cause. Or the planet or children or love. Probably not even puppies. She’s basically a monster.”
Sometimes, I wonder if it would be easier to just go ahead and plan a big ol’ party and invite everyone over.
I also wonder, but on a much different level, if we often make experiencing the presence of God as complicated as a group message. We start thinking in the back of our minds that to have a conversation with Him, we need to push all the right buttons, type in the exact phrase, hashtag it all just so-so.
Enjoying the presence of God isn’t elusive, complicated, or convoluted. Not unless we make it so. It’s found in the beautiful and oh-so-simple act of recognizing Him—understanding that His presence was already there even before we searched. It can often be as easy as looking up, quieting the input of every other voice or device—even quieting the over-busyness of our own thoughts—and zeroing in on Him. On His nearness. On His desire to meet and chat, and His willingness to influence every thought.
David got the message. “I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4 CSB)
Commenting on this psalm, 19th century preacher, Alexander MacLaren, wrote about the “unbroken consciousness of being in God’s presence.” He said, “…there is such a thing as having an undercurrent of consciousness running all through a man’s life and mind; such a thing as having a melody sounding in our ears perpetually, ‘so sweet we know not we are listening to it’ until it stops, and then, by the poverty of the naked and silent atmosphere, we know how musical were the sounds that we scarcely knew that we heard, and yet did hear so well high above all the din of earth’s noises.”
“Undercurrent of consciousness.” I want that. I want the consciousness of God to be louder than any “zzzt” or any other earth-din, and I want to notice loudly when it’s missing.
I think I’ll go so far as to say, I would love to convince my mind to stay in that most glorious undercurrent. Beautifully ever-tagged.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.
Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!
Join the conversation: How do you keep mindful of the presence of God?