Wednesday, April 24, 2013

8 Creative Ways To Increase Your Awareness of God's Nearness in the Day-to-Day

Hi friends!

The turning of your heart toward the Father in the midst of your day-in, day-out routines and circumstances absolutely delights His heart.  Focusing on His nearness can also dramatically alter our days: they are transformed from feeling mundane, to being filled with anticipation of divine encounter.  

God is always pursuing our hearts. In every single moment and every single circumstance of our lives.

Here are some creative, practical suggestions of how to increase your awareness of God's nearness and His pursuit of your heart in the midst of the plain ol' NORMALness of life.

1. Start out by leaning in.  Before your feet hit the floor every morning, pull your heart-priorities into order.  Confess your dependence on Him for every breath and every moment.  Trust Him to strengthen you and encounter you throughout your day.  Choose, in those first few moments of your day, to tune your heart in to His nearness and His tender pursuit of your heart.

2. Worship, worship, worship.  Playing worship music (hello,!) and singing from my heart to the Lord helps cut through a cranky atmosphere in our home, especially in the mornings when my son and his... ahem... mommy are often whiny and out of sorts.  Worship really does - it helps change the atmosphere.  The atmosphere of our homes, and the atmosphere of our hearts.  Declaring and agreeing with the truth of who God is aligns our hearts underneath that truth.  It changes our perspective and the way we experience the events of our day. (Important thought: If worship music is becoming just background noise, it often helps if I turn it off for a while and use other methods to stay aware of God's presence and voice.)

3. Meditate on Scripture.  Write it on sticky notes, note cards, etc.  Play recordings of it.  Choose verses in which the Lord highlights aspects of His heart toward you or His presence with you, and post them around your house.  Memorize and meditate on them.  Contemplate His heart as He reveals it to you through His Word.  (Verses I love:  Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 42:8, Psalm 40:1, Deut. 31:6, Phil. 4:13, Matt. 11:28-30, Psalm 18, Psalm 139.)  I'd love to hear your suggestions of other verses in which you've encountered God's heart toward you in the comments.

4. Pray quick prayers to refocus your heart on His nearness.  Again, post sticky notes around your kitchen or office or wherever you spend the most time.  Write quick, one-sentence prayers on them that you can pray in 10 seconds or less, in the midst of whatever else you have going on, that will help reorient you to God's nearness and His pursuit of your heart.  Example: "Father, thank You that whether I'm aware of You or not, You are lovingly attentive to my heart and every detail of my life."  (Examples of more quick prayers to refocus your heart on His nearness can be found in my new (FREE!) e-book, Stillness Manifesto: A Call to NON-Action  (Complete with NON-Instructions).

5. Take note of His tangible nearness, and thank Him.  Pause periodically throughout your day.  30 seconds here, 2 minutes there.  In that brief window of time, ask the Lord to remind you of a moment or two thus far in your day during which His presence and/or voice was real and tangible to you.  Thank Him for making you aware of Him in those moments.  Repent for the moments in which you weren't tuned in to His nearness and ask Him to increase your awareness of Him.  We have not because we ask not, right? (James 4:2)

6. Your work can be worship.  Consider your daily tasks, whether you're parenting, cleaning, cooking, working a job, caring for an ill parent.  Whatever your season, whatever the Lord has put before you to do, turn your heart toward Him frequently in the midst of it.  Ask Him to remind you that He's there, to grab your attention periodically.  Remind yourself that when you do your work with excellence, as unto the Lord, He receives it as worship.  And He is right there, closer than your next breath, empowering you and offering grace for every. single. thing. He asks of you.  He invites you to step by faith into doing all of it in His strength and not your own.  And then, by faith, hear His "WELL DONE" as He whispers it to your heart in those moments.  Your lifestyle of worship delights His heart SO. MUCH.

7. Respond to Him in the hard stuff.  During your day, when a particular moment or circumstance is stressful or frustrating or makes you downright mad, pause.  As difficult as it may be to wrangle your emotions in that moment, turn your heart toward the Lord and briefly ask Him to show you how you can respond to Him in the midst of THIS moment, of THIS circumstance.  "God, what is your invitation to me right now?  How can I respond to you in this?"  He will be faithful to show you.  Responding well to His invitations in the midst of the difficult moments will dramatically change the way you experience those moments.  Situations that would otherwise have made you want to pull your hair out will become opportunities to experience His grace and peace and empowerment in a new way.

8. Practice stillness before the Lord regularly, as a spiritual discipline.  Make this a regular piece of your time with the Lord, in addition to prayer, worship, scripture, etc.  It will probably start out feeling like just that - a discipline.  But as you cultivate stillness as a regular piece of your life in God, resting with Him in this way will begin to be something that you look forward to.  God will use these times with Him to bring so, so much LIFE to your heart.  Experiencing God in times of stillness has revolutionized my walk with Him.  I've learned to focus on and know, in my gut, His nearness to me in those moments of stillness.  As I've learned to be aware of Him in those moments, that awareness has begun to carry over into the rest of my days.  I'm learning to be still and in tune with His whispers on the inside when I must be busy on the outside.  Stillness before Him becomes a heart atmosphere that, the more we practice it externally, the more we can carry it with us inside.  And stillness can be practiced in as few as 5-10 minutes a day.  

For 30 pages of info on learning to cultivate stillness as a piece of your life in God, I invite you to download my free e-book, Stillness Manifesto: A Call to NON-Action (Complete with Step-by-Step NON-Instructions). Just click the link and enter your email address to subscribe to receive my monthly e-newsletter.  When you confirm your subscription, you'll receive the private link to download the e-book.  

You can, of course, unsubscribe from my list at any time (though I do hope you'll stick around!), but the e-book will be yours forever and ever. :)

Blessings to you all, friends!  To those of you who are new subscribers in the last few days, WELCOME!!  I am so genuinely happy to have you all here.  May you continue to find blessing and encouragement for your heart here.  

And may you experience God's clear, tender leadership of your heart as you learn to tune in to His nearness more and more, day by day.

You are so loved by your Father.  So, SO dearly loved.

***Are there other ways you've discovered that help you to stay aware of God's nearness to you in the midst of your day-to-day life?  Please comment and share with us!***

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