I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. I love that it helps me keep in contact with family and friends, but I hate that I can so quickly feel pulled away from a conversation because I can feel it ringing in my bag.
This past month I was on a trip where I had a few days with very limited cell phone coverage. I knew this going into the trip, and (not surprisingly) had mixed feelings about it. I don’t know if you’ve had time away from your phone before, but it’s both simultaneously exhilarating and alarming.
In one of the brief moments where I had a single ray of the glorious Wi-Fi, I expressed this tension to a friend. I was so used to the rhythm of going nonstop. My soul was also EXHAUSTED from this pace of life. There were still things I could (and should) be working on during the trip, but I also could not ignore the timing of it…the hope of being able to catch my breath.
My friend’s encouragement was simple: practice the presence.
As I read her words, something triggered in the back of my brain. Just three days before I had listed to a song five times over (not a joke), praying Psalm 16 to the chords of Shane and Shane:
My heart is glad and my soul rejoice
my flesh it dwells secure
because You put on flesh
lived a blameless life
my curse on the cross You bore
then You ripped the doors off the City of Death
and the chains fell to the floor
Now the serpent’s crushed
It has been finished
and You reign forever more
You are my portion my cup and you make my lot secure
the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places
a beautiful inheritance
in Your presence there is fullness of joy, of joy
at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore
Shane & Shane, Psalm 16 (Fullness of Joy)
My phone reminds me that there are always things that need to be done…people to talk to, bills that need to be paid, information to be gathered. Someone, something needs me.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of places I look for significance, but this past month I’ve tried to put it in productivity. What I’m really searching for is found elsewhere.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11
I have to fight to be in His presence. And to be quite honest: that’s hard. I wish I could grasp this entirely and practice it effortlessly.
For me to be reminded of His presence, I most often need to stop what I’m doing and thinking and sit with him. And that feels very counter productive to my productivity mindset.
I’ve “practiced the presence” in a few different ways this month, making a conscious effort to step away from my phone and endless to-do list every time. I have a few I like to rotate through:
- Going for a walk
- Reading outside
- Working out to worship music
- Driving without the radio
- Enjoying the quiet of the early morning or evening
When I sit with the Lord, I’m reminded of the first 10 verses of Psalm 16. Those verses proclaim who God is and what He has done for me and how I relate to Him. In Jesus is the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.