when you don’t feel like you can be loved: how to practice the presence of God

Yeah, so Brother Lawrence has his sacred spuds.

And I’ve got this bag of rotting carrots pulling up a burial blanket of fleecing mold in the bottom of the fridge —

and a bunch of girls making brownies and a sink overflowing with a motley crew of pots that have lost handles.

You can lose your precarious way by 10 in the morning.

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Yeah, they can crank the speakers right up on Sunday morning and play the worship music so loud your inner cochlear quakes for mercy and they can flash the 3 point outline in pixels up there on the screen before the final prayer —- but everybody ends up just going home to the kitchen to find something to eat.

Brother Lawrence and his potatoes are on to something….

Theology can be talked about on Sundays, recorded at conferences – but it’s lived in kitchens or it dies at tables.

Doctrine in the kitchen is doctrine in real life.

Don’t belittle everyday pots and pans — they are the means to carry theology into the everyday of our lives.

The mother in the kitchen is the one who can actually give life to the words of the speaker on the platform. Platform words are dead words – until brave people live them out in the kitchen.

Two cousins pour and stir over the stove, loud and lovely I count out a bunch of sweet spuds across the counter. There is light at the window.

What had that Brother Lawrence said?

The time of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer.

And in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were on my knees.”

And, yeah, there are kids and there is loud and there is clatter — but this is all that matters:

When you have an overwhelmed world, you don’t have to have an underwhelmed soul — if Christ fills the thoughts.

Exhaling can feel like the beginning of a divine conversation. I exhale again. The girls measure out the butter, ask for a spatula. I rummage through a drawer looking for the peeler for the sweet potatoes.

God’s presence needs no practicing because God’s presence has no end.

God presence needs no practicing because it’s perfect and it’s present everywhere.

God’s presence needs no practicing – we’re the one who need to practice waking to it.

God’s presence doesn’t need practicing – His presence needs to be breathed.

Exhale.

You don’t practice His presence. You practice being present to His presence in this present moment. Practicing the presence of God is the practice of self-discipline.

In the midst of everything calling for my attention – the point is to never stop leaning into Who is calling me.

“Can you find the 1/4 cup?” Shalom’s holding the recipe card.

“Got it!” Her cousin laughs, holds vintage orange tupperware up like a trophy.

I peel another strip off a sweet potato — and there it is, like a peeling of the heart:

You miss Jesus – when you don’t look for Him in the right places….

Your soul misses Jesus when more time is spent on Facebook than face in the Book.

Your soul misses Jesus when more time is spent on Instagram feeds than feeding on His Word.

Your soul miss Jesus when more time is spent on Twitter chats than chatting with Jesus whom you claim to follow.

Balanced social media can be a soul meal; too much social media can be soul suicide.

Exhale.

The girls lean into each other over a 9 by 13 pan. I can feel that, how a soul can do that.

Every Christ-follower is in the same business — to kill busy-ness and make it your business to talk endlessly with God.

It’s like the rhythm of breathing:

His presence. My gift. His presence. My gift.

Exhale.

The girls lick out the bowl, and a big brother comes grinning for something to feed his hunger.

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And there is light across the counters.

Across the table, across the cutting boards, across the potatoes —

there is this Light that can saturate anything.

 

 

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