Making Eye Contact with God

So there has been a lot on my heart and mind this week. Trying to figure out the direction for our church and also still lots to do after moving homes. And I don’t know, just a lot on my heart and mind; a lot of moving pieces of things to do, or things to think of, and a lot of uncertainty for the future. And I found myself wrestling with some more anxiety this week. I feel like this is just the season the Lord is taking me through right now, learning to deal with this because so many others do also.

And so I was wrestling with the anxiety this week, and I had to take a hike on Friday. A literal hike into the mountains. That’s where I have my best communion with the Lord. Just to get away to a lonely, isolated place where I can enjoy nature, think and pray freely. But mainly I was trying to relieve this pressure on my chest.

In my time on the mountain, the Lord showed me two things that helped. The first is, don’t think too much. My mind can often be racing with so many thoughts about this or that, that my body doesn’t have a chance to catch up. And so I realized that I need to slow my thoughts down, and just be. Being before doing, or BEfore DO as I like to put it. That’s what times like the hike provide. A time to be still. There’s a Bruce Lee line that came to my mind, “Don’t think…feel.” That is what I needed to do this week because there was too much thinking. Too much calculating. Too much trying to control my life. And I was reminded of Psalm 131:1, “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” My heart can tend to be lifted up. That is, set on doing great and innovative things. But the reality is these things are too high for me, too great, too marvelous. And so I just need to chill, and give them up to the Lord. To recognize that there are things beyond my understanding, beyond my thinking powers, and it’s ok. Instead I can “Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

The other thing that helped relieve my anxiety was Jehovah Jireh. This is the title that Abraham gives to the Lord after the sacrifice (or the would be sacrifice) of Isaac. It literally means ‘the Lord sees.’ As I wrestled with my anxiety, I tried reminded myself of the theology I knew: God is all powerful, all knowing, he is good, etc. And those are wonderful truths to meditate upon. But it was when I considered that God sees me, that everything connected. It turned the abstract theology, into a personal reality. That there actually is a God, and he sees me. He sees where I am, what I am going through, and he even sees me in the secret places of my heart. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches about prayer, and he warns us not to pray hypocritically just to be seen. Instead, he says to pray in a secret place, and “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6). I realized this is a source of anxiety. It is to be too concerned with what others think of me. And instead, the only thing that really matters is that the Father sees me in the secret place.

Instantly, there is a kind of connection that I feel with Him. A comfort. A understanding. And I am able to breath the air of heaven, knowing that I have a Heavenly Father whose face is shining on me, he is smiling at me, because he is well-pleased with me because I am in his perfect Son. So I can just rest…in his smile.

This thought, lifted the pressure, and I was free.

In a nutshell, I think this is what Jesus teaches in Matthew 6. This is what it means to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. It is to lay aside all the things in the world that would worry us. Good and necessary things though they may be, and to just make eye contact with the Lord, and to rest in his good presence.

And so would you just allow yourself to make eye contact with the Lord? That is, to know that he sees you? He sees your life. He sees your thoughts. He sees your feelings. He knows you. He loves you. Trust him with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. He will make your paths straight. Rest in that goodness for a moment…

Prayer: Lord, thank you. Thank you that you see us. That you always have your eye on us. You are carefully and compassionately concerned for us and your watchful, smiling eyes never leave us. There is no detail that you miss, no accidents, but everything purposefully intended by your goodness to sanctify us and to prepare us for your heavenly glory. Lord, we give you all of our worries and concerns. Thank you Lord for setting us free in Christ. Amen.

God is good.

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