Be careful what you wish for


This year, I chose the word Present for my word of the year. I want to spend more time in God’s presence as part of that choice. (Read the full article here.) January is not even over yet, and God is already helping me  become aware of how poorly I do that (but graciously showing me how to get there).

I am a doer. It runs in the family. I do not recall seeing any examples in my extended family of lazy people—or even people who sat quietly and peacefully. My grandmother worked two (volunteer) jobs up until the time she passed on. When my grandfather had to go to assisted living, he kept busy playing dominoes every day. My maternal grandmother lived alone, but kept her little apartment spotless. I still remember seeing her clean her home every day. If a plant lost as leaf, she rooted it in water and gave it to someone. Her hands moved, even if there was nothing in them. She made quilts up until the point she couldn’t see the stitches any longer.

My parents are the same. Although in their 80s, my dad is part of two singing groups (one of which he started), has planted and cares for a garden at church, works in the garden at home, and makes birdhouses for the whole neighborhood, for the senior center, and for others who request them. My mom is in two quilting groups, a knitting group, and a sewing group, plus she does data entry for a ministry at her church. When she sits to watch TV, she has one of many projects in her lap, to keep her hands busy while she watches. 

I give this background as a bit of an excuse for my own restlessness and as an explanation for why I feel lazy when I just sit down to watch a Netflix show with no project occupying my hands. This constant state of doing has made it very difficult for me to simply be in God’s presence. I do try—and I even succeed sometimes for as long as 15 seconds, although that might be an exaggeration. However, I’m calling it a victory that I’m becoming aware.

It was in the midst of being very busy, that God found a way to help me out. I got one of the many colds going around that just won’t let go. The moment I thought I was getting better, I started rushing around frantically trying to catch up, and I’d forget that I had these great intentions to spend time just resting in God’s presence. So, what happened? I got sick again—a relapse. This happened about three times before I finally “decided” (actually, forced might be the more appropriate term) to stay in bed and rest. I had loaded up on cough syrup, cough drops, nasal flush, vitamin C, zinc, and more. I even bought a humidifier and Vick’s vapor solution to add to it. When that didn’t help, I broke down and went to see a doctor, who sent me home with three prescriptions for bronchitis, an ear infection, and the horrid cough!

I had just returned from a trip to California (which was the cause of the ear infections), and on the flight back, I started a new book, How Dante Can Save Your Life. When you are traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast, with connections, you have a lot of time to read, and I quickly found myself engrossed in this story. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. When I got home and felt even worse than before, I spent as much time as I could just sitting around and reading this book. I even took it to bed with me and read it for an entire day in bed. 

I confess that reading is not exactly doing nothing, but through this book, I have been learning so much about experiencing God’s presence and how to identify those things in life that keep me too busy and turned away from Him. I began to wonder why I even had this book in my Kindle (I guess it was a Book Bub deal I took advantage of a long time ago), and how I came to choose it to read on my flight home. But, I soon realized that God had given me a helping hand for being in His presence. I believe He put the desire in my heart to read this book at just the right time—and then he gave me the impetus needed to rest and read it. 

I highly recommend this book if you want to hear about the writer’s spiritual awakening during a time of forced illness, or simply learn more about Dante’s Divine Comedy. I think there’s something for everyone in it.  And even if you don’t read it, let me encourage you to be still from time to time and rest in God’s presence. Don’t wait until you’re sick to do so, either!

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™