Last night, I sighed as I opened my front door, returning from a vacation that was more a marathon than an opportunity for recreation. There was no rhythm to my time away, just rush, rush, rush. Ran from one activity to the next trying to see it all, do it all, visit with as many people as possible.
The trip reminded me of an early childhood memory. My family loved car trips. These were pre-Internet days, so at evening’s end, instead of searching the Internet, we searched the “vacancy” signs in front of motels. We were greatly disappointed when we found a fairly decent-looking one, but the “no vacancy” sign out front was lit.
That memory came wafting back to me because while I was gone, my soul began to feel vacant since I had hung a “no vacancy” sign on my life. For nine days, I spent almost every waking moment involved in my overbooked schedule with little time spent in sacred communion with God.
All sorts of activities vied for my attention to the point I experienced a broken union with Christ. One of the first things I unpacked was my journal, but it sat right where I placed it on Day 1 until I packed it up right before I left for home. While I did pray every night before I went to sleep, that isn’t really enough, is it? We need more than that to deeply fellowship with our Creator.
Yet, while I wasn’t seeking God, I was overcome with joy because I strongly felt His presence in all my activities. That’s because He lives in us, so His sacred love permeates all we do. He was right beside me while I was visiting with friends, in the dentist’s chair or even trying in vain to clean out the basement. All I needed to do was acknowledge His presence.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says simply, “pray without ceasing.” For many years, I struggled with that. Imagining that meant being down on my knees with my hands folded together, I never thought unceasing prayer was possible. How does God expect us to pray every moment of every day? That question haunted me until these overbooked days where one activity ran into another ended and the truth slammed me. Our lives should be one giant prayer to God.
I’m not saying to forget about those private extended times alone with God. We most certainly need those. But by acknowledging God’s presence in every aspect of our lives, we will experience His sacred love in everything we do.
God’s love is powerful – enough to pervade the nooks and crannies of our lives. That includes visiting with friends, cooking dinner, doing the laundry or even packing up your suitcase. I might have forgotten to welcome Him into my presence, but He never forgot to stay with me; that’s how much He loves me.
Those nine vacant days were a wake-up call. My time away taught me I want my life to be more Him, less me. From now on, I want to spend my days acknowledging Him, striving to follow Him even in the busyness of life.
What about you?