Last night, the Lord anointed me with His Presence. It came out of the blue. I was never really fully aware of how unpresent I am and have grown to be for so long until He spoke this truth to me in a moment of silence.
It began with me thinking about the way I spend my day, and dwelling upon the Groundhog-day-esque nature of much of my life these days: accomplish one task, move on to the next task, complete the next piece of content, read the next book, listen to the next podcast, prepare for the next meal, have “quick conversations” on the phone, shoot off hurried email replies, rinse, wash and repeat. But see, God cares about each day. Sure, 2 Peter 3:8 in the Bible says that a thousand years are as a single day to God, yet this doesn’t mean he doesn’t still care for each of these days, hours, minutes, seconds, and microseconds.
And this means that for us to be fully grateful, fully aware, fully impactful, fully purposeful, fully excellent, and living fully to the glory of God each day we must also be present each day, present each hour, present each minute, present each second, present each microsecond, and perhaps most importantly: present each breath.
This anointing of and extreme awareness of Presence that God gifted to me is hard to describe, but I will try. I felt Presence fitted upon my torso like the most thin, delicate, fragile glass breastplate you can imagine. It is completely translucent, shimmering, glowing, and flowing with each twist and move of my body. Like glass, Presence can shatter at a moment’s notice, but unlike glass—and more like water or a seamless fluid—it can instantly reform after it is broken, if the awareness of the broken Presence and the desire for Presence returns. As one learns to care for this “breastplate of Presence,” one can grow better and better at keeping it from shattering, and reforming it when it is broken.
One of the best ways to maintain the integrity of Presence is with breath. Imagine that each inhale charges the Presence with a deep white and blue light, and each exhale sends tendrils, vibrations, frequencies, and atoms of that Presence wherever God inspires you to direct your Presence.
The world so desperately needs Presence, doesn’t it?
In an age of constant distraction, and doing, doing, doing as human doings instead of human beings, most people’s Presence is constantly non-existent or shattered. Yet not many people speak of the importance of Presence. Mindfulness, yes. Focus, yes. Awareness, yes. But Presence has an altogether different ring to it when the word is said aloud or envisioned as this breastplate upon the body.
I want to help teach Presence to people. God has placed this upon my heart. Family is foundation, so I must begin by teaching my twin boys River and Terran Presence. Presence for each tiny bubble of air in each of their young inhales and exhales. Each padded footstep out of their bed in the morning. Each ray of sunshine that strikes their skin. Each drop of rain that settles on their head. Each bite of food slowly lifted to the lips and savored and chewed. Each sip of wine and olive oil and yes, even water. Pure, unadulterated Presence must saturate the life of one who wants to be fully connected to loving others and loving God..
How is our Presence broken?
Sure, as I’ve already mentioned, our daily distractions—particularly technology, work, and endless to-do lists—threaten each moment to break our Presence, but I think the vicious cycle begins when we are young. Think back to your childhood, something so many of us fail to regularly do. Remember who you were as a child before you began to feel the pressure to become who you thought the world wanted you to be, rather than your true, authentic self God called you to be. Presence began to fade when it was overwhelmed by all the running, lifting, twisting, twirling, spinning, catching, releasing, starting, ending, consuming, and endless trying and yearning as you tried to be who the world wanted you to be, rather than that fragile breastplate of Presence remaining with you on the constant because you were satisfied with the peace of being who God had called you to be.
If you return to this Presence, if you momentarily stop dancing through the bullets of the matrix of life, you can become connected to your true purpose. You are not ashamed of your purpose statement, you are not so caught up in the doing that you forget about the being, and you have deep knowing that if you cannot be present, then there is too much.
You know. Too much to do. Too much to tend to. Too much to make. Too many promises to keep. Business to tend to. Books to write. Books to read. Tests to take. School to do. Things to record. Phone calls to dial. Equipment to clean. New things to try. Mail to open. Mail to send. Yes, yes, yes to all the shiny pennies and “opportunities” accompanied by a relative lack of “no, this distracts me from Presence.” These tasks and to-do lists can all seem very honorable and productive, but at the end of the day result in little meaningful impact versus focusing with excellence upon one fully present task done well or one fully present conversation that leaves someone feeling truly cared about because you took the time, looked into their eyes, listened with patience and loved.
Until today, until I truly realized what Presence is, my purpose statement was “to empower people to live a more joyful, adventurous, and fulfilling life.” But I realize now that this purpose statement doesn’t place me in the present, and indeed, tempts me to be and even paints me into a corner of being some kind of strong, chest-thumping warlord who leads people on adventure quests in a never-ending cycle of unfulfilling doing. So what is my true purpose statement after much reflection and introspection upon the importance of Presence?
I’ll tell you.
To Read & Write, Learn & Teach, Sing & Speak, Compete & Create In Full Presence & Selfless Love, To The Glory Of God.
I feel a deep sense of Presence in that purpose statement, and if I can go forth and love others with that purpose statement while remaining fully present, then I know deep in my soul that I will be living as God has truly called me to live.
So I now commit, I promise and I prioritize for the rest of my days to wearing this breastplate of Presence, and to sharing Presence with others in as deep and meaningful a way as I can, from the first breath I take upon waking, to the first step I when my feet touch the ground out of bed, to the first sip of water that touches my lips and onwards into every experience and interaction of the day.
In next week's post, I'm going to tell you how to hone your own purpose statement, but in the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts about Presence, and if you plan to commit to having more Presence yourself.