I’ve walked down this street, and this exact spot, for the last 8 years more times than I can count. And yet today, for some reason, my dog pulled me to the edge of the sidewalk. I looked down and gasped. My name etched into the concrete. Clearly it had lived there for a length of time, but I never saw it until today. Funny how something so obvious can remain completely unnoticed.
The same can be said for our experience of God’s presence in our lives. He’s constant, He’s attentive, and yet we go about our day to day living with barely an acknowledgment. We pass Him by without a glance. But God on the other hand, He’s very aware of us. In fact while we are often oblivious, He’s got His attention fixed upon us. Seeing my name in the concrete caught me off guard, and immediately I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit prompting me. My physical reaction was a mirror of my spiritual reaction when I suddenly see God at work, or hear His voice. I’m surprised that He’d grant me attention. But why?
He’s Dealing with Bigger Problems
I think we often feel like our problems are too small for Him to notice in the light of global need, so we go it alone, unwilling to invite the God of the universe into our minute lives. We think He expects us to figure out the "small stuff" without His help. After all, people are dying, in pain, and the world is so messy right now. Our problems must seem like a blip on God's radar. We just can’t comprehend a God big enough to hold all of us at the same time.
He’s Waiting on Us to Improve
At other times we anticipate needing to earn His attention. We think we'll catch his eye and He'll get excited when we’re successful, accomplished or hitting our spiritual goals. We'll come back to church when we've straightened some things out. We'll work on some areas, polish some disciplines and then He'll be impressed and we’ll be granted an audience. All the time not realizing He loves us as we are, and that won’t increase or decrease based on our behavior.
His Arm Needs Twisting
Many of us view God as a King who demands we crawl to Him, begging Him to provide for our needs. We crave a listening ear, compassion and provision, but we approach God like someone unsure of how we’ll be received. We attempt to twist God's arm and convince Him of why we're worthy of His time and affection. It’s painful to admit, but rarely do we approach with confidence, like a child asking for more and expecting nothing less than goodness and love.
We simply don’t live like we have His attention. Deep down we don't believe it. We perform, beg, struggle and strive, hoping that one day fate might align the stars, favor may rest on our lives and for a moment we’ll bask in His gaze. And that'll be the moment we experience this intimacy thing that we hear folks talk about. And we don't know how long it will take, but one day we’ll feel it. When we’ve checked all the boxes.
The Clever Ploy
It's a clever ploy from the enemy, the lie that God is distracted. It keeps Him just distant enough that we can't quite connect. Just overwhelmed enough that we don’t make an appearance on his priority list. We feel like one human in the sea of billions. Robbing us of relationship. Isolating us. An outsider, insignificant and lost in the crowd.
We Have His Attention
But all the time God is writing our name in cement. The truth is He's calling to us, hoping we’ll glance over and see that He’s been with us from the beginning. Attentive to our needs, aware of our struggles and affirming our identity. He's chasing us, He's hearing us and we have His gaze. Every moment of every day. And not just His gaze, but His love, His resources, His affection and His power. I’ll be honest, I’m a pro at hiding, begging and performing. I slide quite smoothly into those behaviors, but pausing to take this photo, it was a small pivot for me to today. A shift towards living like a child who is loved and seen.
How do you need to pivot today? What smalls shifts can you make to position yourself as someone expectant of God’s attention and affection?
I’d like to invite you into what’s true today, that you can live loved. It means we don’t beg a Good Father. We anticipate His intervention. We don’t back away from sharing our needs, we expect His pursuit in every detail in our lives. And we don’t highlight our best side for His approval, we kick off our shoes and rest in abundance. Because we reside in our Fathers house. And He’s the King. And we always have His attention.