"Really? What did He have to say?"
"Well...He told me you got your One Word wrong."
"He said He gave you 'presence', but you chose 'seek.'"
My mind went back to the day before when I was praying with her and another person.
That other person had begun their prayer with "God I pray that Toni feels your presence in a tangible way today." He got specific so there was no misunderstanding. "Not your p r e s e n t s, but your presence. Surround her with it and help her to be aware of it..." Throughout the prayer, he circled back to God's presence a number of times.
When he was done, I told him I found his prayer interesting because the words "presence" and "seek" had come up over and over in the beginning of the year as I was looking for my one word. I really felt drawn to presence, but I thought "That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm going with seek, because I can seek attributes of God along with His presence. Presence by itself just sounds strange as word to meditate on."
Now here was this woman, after hearing my thought process, telling me God said I chose the wrong word.
I wondered if what she had heard was more her opinion than divine dictation.
Instead of voicing my doubts, I countered with "What do you mean?"
She said, "You're always 'doing.' God gave you a noun, and you went with a verb.
Presence is a noun...and God's presence is a person, a place, and a thing. But you chose seek, which is a verb.
You chose seek as if there was something you needed to do. God's not asking you to do anything - His Presence is already here - just rest in it."
Even if God hadn't imparted these words and she had been influenced by my comments the previous day, there was a ton of truth in them. I am always in motion. It's hard for me to be quiet and still.
I had just come out of a trying year that had left me feeling dry even as I sought after balance. Perhaps God really was telling me to stop seeking His Presence because it already enveloped me.
The very next day my email contained a post from (in)courage entitled The Gift of Presence. It was about giving our friends the gift of our presence when they are hurting and words can't fix or undo the problem, but it was likened to the way we know and interact with God, sitting in His Presence. The day after that, the post was entitled He Will Meet You and it contained this line...when you are present in the moment, you will feel His Presence.
Yeah, God's like that. When you don't want to hear what He has to say, or you're not quite sure if He's the voice you're hearing, He repeats himself.
Over and over if necessary.
Every day this week, the mention of God's Presence has been in something I've read or a song I've listened to, or someone has prayed that I would feel His Presence in my life.
I've never been so happy to admit I was wrong.
Writing this, I looked for scripture on God's presence. I realized there were two verses I had encountered multiple times in the past month...no wonder I had been drawn to the word presence.
Psalm 139:7 - Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
And Exodus 33:14 - And He said; my presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.
It's not that seeking is wrong, but right now, I'm tired and verbs require energy. I guess I'm in a noun kind of season.
God's already here and I'm ready to rest in His Presence. The only action needed is to lean in.