What’s God Doing Right Now?

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

​​​Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

So, I wish it was easy to follow Jesus’ encouragement from this passage in Matthew.  We all know that it is one of the hardest things God asks us to do – to trust in Him and His provision for us, regardless of the circumstances.  However, this trust is the key to us experiencing “life abundantly” as He has promised  in John 10:10.

Building up the muscles that help us live with attention to what God is doing right now – in this moment – was the focus of our September Seeking Stillness retreat.  We did look back to remind ourselves of how God has provided for us in the situations we have faced in our lives.  We worshiped Him for the ways he has provided for us.  We were grateful and encouraged.

We also dug into why we tend to fixate on all those things that could go wrong in our future.  All those things we worry about not being able to control.  We talked a lot about how we make assumptions and conjure up stories about what could happen, that rarely, if ever, materialize.

When we started really focusing on what God was doing in the moment, we realized that God speaks to us in the moment in which we are right now.  If our minds and hearts are consumed with regret or even celebration over the past, or more likely, consumed with fears about and efforts to control the future, we block ourselves off from the majesty of God that is all around us, every moment of every day.  When the past and the future distract us, we lose hope.  We cut ourselves off from the community of believers who can support us.  We are deaf and blind to the movement of the Holy Spirit. We are acting as if WE are God and, most of the time, we don’t even realize it because we are moving soooo fast.

Living in the present moment is hard, especially in our society.  To do it well, we have to slow down, connect with God, and focus.  While that can be easier while on retreat, our goal is to build time and space into our days so that we remind ourselves of the amazing power and provision of the God we serve.  He refuels our batteries when we are able to give Him praise for what He is doing in our lives.  He gives us hope when we realize that we are not alone.  He alone is God and He is most powerfully and tangibly present in this very moment of our lives.  Can you take a minute, right now, to sense how God is at work in this very moment of your life?

~Deb Griest

5 Little Hooks

This is my first blog for Seeking Stillness Ministries and in general. I am writing this blog because I am the new operations manager. Lisa is acting in an advisory role with our ministry and we are working to make the transition as seamless as possible. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with both Lisa and Debra.
 
While on a recent retreat, I lay on my little twin bed trying to take a much needed nap. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about the history of the retreat center in which I reclined. Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center was originally built in 1874, turned hands a few times and was finally purchased in 1925 by the Sisters of Mercy. The buildings and grounds of Our Lady of the Pines have been steeped in prayer for almost 100 years. I imagined the sisters walking the halls and going about their duties while they praised and petitioned to God. It wasn’t hard because God’s presence was palpable.
As I lay there I began to study the room to which I was assigned. I looked over the small three drawer night stand that served as a dresser, the small rocking chair and the five hooks that clung to the wall with hangers strung from each. Briefly, I wondered where the nun who lived here last would have kept her possessions. Did she have storage under the bed so she could put away her winter coat? My room had an attached bathroom- a luxury. Yet, I found myself grumbling to myself that my toothpaste kept falling into the sink. Where did the nun keep her personal care items? And, then it struck me.  The nun that had last lived in this room had few, if any, personal possessions. My eyes returned to the five little hooks. Was God talking to me through those hooks and the history of this room?
Five hooks…my mind turned immediately to condemning thoughts of materialism, pride, vanity, but Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are now in Christ Jesus. In fact, in Colossians 3:12, Paul tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. If you would look in my closet and dresser at home, you would see that I have plenty of clothes to wear and yet, I am never quite satisfied. Fashion is ever changing and demanding.
In contrast, Jesus is the same today and tomorrow. If we allow Him to, He satisfies us. He accepts us now, just as we are, and with unconditional love. He takes us in and adopts us into his family. He doesn’t treat us as a second class family member; we become His beloved child. Looking at those five little hooks, I saw that, like a good father, He provides all we need ; we don’t have to work for it, or do better or be more spiritual. We just have to trust Him with our dreams, concerns and relationships and turn to Him daily for direction.
As our trust grows and we learn to truly rest in Him, it is easier to follow His guidance. We become like trees coming out of a long winters nap. At first you might not notice the buds, but as Spring progresses you can not mistake the increase in size of the buds of compassion, kindness, meekness, humility and patience. We are becoming more Christlike and more able to produce the fruits required of us. What a great God we have!
~Joan Boettcher