Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
A season of pain, a season of confusion, a season of disappointment, a season of major obstacles and our family was smack dab in the middle of it! Abundant suffering that I wanted to fix, but I couldn’t. Feelings of helplessness to take away the pain! It was as though we were in the center of the Grand Canyon floating freely and suddenly flood waters began pouring in with no escape in sight. All we could do was doggie paddle to stay afloat amidst the white water rapids.
Now, let me say, I had my own pain, but the pain that was worst for me was watching my young adults struggle. Suddenly there was a feeling of responsibility to take it away, to jump into action, to protect, to problem solve, and who am I kidding… to fix it all! I wanted to blow up the inflatable raft and paddle us to safety, my emotions were high and my thoughts were wild, as I searched for the exact place I would insert self! After all, I’ve got skills and I can use them!
Exactly at the right moment, I ran across a quote from Paul Miller I had written down months before. It said, “anxiety is self on its own, trying to get control”. Wowza! This was me and that is where the shift began for me.
Glaring at me like a scorching sun in the heat of the day was truth about myself. Jumping into action, was way easier then slowing down to jump into the arms of God. Feeling productive was easier than doing ‘nothing’.
What was most needed wasn’t me inserting myself, but instead letting go of control, fastening my life jacket and Being FULLY PRESENT for the ride.
Focusing on this tiny nanosecond of space is the place I’d like to go right now.
Exactly in this space, the gap between our fear and our response is where we get to notice our thoughts, our desires, our feelings and those of our young adults, with a Holy God.
Empowerment resides here as God is God and we are not! In this space, we listen to God’s still small voice and we listen to others below the surface of the rapids that are swirling around them.
Choices happen here:
Live by faith or live by sight?
Walk in fear or walk in trust?
God is good all the time, or not so much?
Snatch control or wait for God?
Choices happen here in this Holy observing space.
Can we choose to let go and give others breathing room to experience God for themselves or not?
Choices happen here…
Being present with God and others is a powerful choice and you get to choose.
Pausing between fear and reaction, we get to love out of the overflow of Christ. We get to comfort with the words or actions that He wants us to comfort with. We get to shift from inserting self to inserting what God wants in this moment for His child because we are listening for Him. We get to comfort others as God has comforted us.
All of the fruit of His Spirit dwells in this holy observing place. We get to filter our thoughts through God’s Word. We get to ask ourselves internal questions that connect us to our Creator. Is this true? What would you like me to do, Lord? What is my next best step? What is most needed now?
The amazing thing I discovered was that even if He didn’t direct me with words, the recipient of this kind of presence felt the comfort of God. Knowing they were not alone. My young adults knew I was with them, I was by their side, and that we would get through this together. It was freeing to not have to know the answers or the ‘right’ thing to say, this is abiding.
Another marvelous discovery I made was that every time I stepped in and took away their pain, I prevented them from learning to trust God and growing in ways that He ordained for them. I was actually fighting with God when I stepped into His role to fix the situation, thinking I knew better than Him. My young adult needed to sit in His schoolhouse and learn this lesson without my interference! My job was to get out of the way and BE FULLY PRESENT FOR THEM IN THE MIDST.
Was this easy? Heck no! The funny thing is, God never said it would be easy!
God created our brains, our emotions and gives us the opportunity to choose to do right, to take our thoughts captive to obedience in Christ, and to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. And love our neighbors as ourselves. We have choices in the middle of the messy rapids that swirl around us! The one thing I get to control is my choices, that’s it!
Our space to control is when we pause in the holy observing moment between the pain and the response, this is where our power lies, this is where our strength comes from, this is where the fruit is born, this is where the peace is obtained, this is where God is found, this is where our parenting shines above the rest, this is where our young adults grow responsible, this is where the supernatural power is located! Right in this holy space.
Abiding happens here in this practical place where our faith gets legs moment by moment.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but the good news is that Christ is in us and is our hope of glory.
You get to choose the thoughts you ponder and the impact you will have on your family.
Today, choose who you will serve, because you do have a choice.
What one step will you take today to become more present with God and others?