In the deepest parts of my being I desire to help people experience a better quality of life. That is why I do most of what I do. I also want to experience a better quality of life myself. That is way I do the rest of what I do.
Fundamentally, I believe that if we can each feel that God loves us and then in return love God then we all have a chance at a better life. Ideally, LOVE will abound. And when it does not FORGIVENESS and GRACE will cover a multitude of sins.
Nice dream. But is it possible? I think it is. I hope it is. I will do my part to make sure it is possible.
How? One way is to talk about PRACTICING THE PRESENCE on this website. Most of what I write about here comes from my own spiritual practices and the messages that are generated out of those for my church. Currently, I am journeying through the story of Gideon at home and with those in my congregation in a series that I called “13 Steps: From Compelling God Idea to Movement.”
What I notice is the story of Gideon is that he is practicing being present with God and others through his whole story. The whole story is a demonstration of God loving Gideon and his people and them demonstrating their love for God and their people in tangible ways. I realize that it does not work out so well for the Midianites. Relationship does demand that choices be made. Like it or not.
I think each of us needs a reminder, a daily one even, that we need to be attuned to the presence of God and listening to God so that we can make better choices about our relationships today than we made yesterday. This act of being tuned into God is not something that comes easily. It takes practice. We need to practice the presence. That’s why the website is called Trees of Mamre. This was the place that Abraham and Sarah practiced being present with God. Sometimes successfully; sometimes not. We must choose what we will be present with and with whom we will be present as well.
This morning I read an article about Social Media Fatigue from Ken Mueller. Another that I read was from Michael Hyatt on his daily reading list which discusses ways he manages his relationship with written work so he can maintain healthy relationships with other things and people. We all know that there is much opportunity to be hyper (link)-present in the world and in persons lives that some (many?) are feeling overwhelmed. How can we manage all of these relationships? Good question. Let me offer some suggestions.
Decide which relationships are most important to you and make sure you are spending time with those persons. Either physically or digitally.
- I have made lists of groups of people that I want to spend time with. I will not share with you who are on the lists but they are based on Dunbar’s number. Dunbar number is a number that describes how many relationships a human being can manage in healthy ways. That number is 150. I will explain this more in another post. And just so you know God is on the list.
- Decide who you will NOT be present with. The choice may need to come down to mutual benefit. Ask yourself, “Is this relationship mutually beneficial?” If the relationship is not mutually beneficial you may need to focus on other relationships.
Be present with the people you need to be present with when you need to be present with them. Huh?
- This has become even more important to discuss with the advent of mobile technologies. I can be physically present at the dinner table but if I am texting or updating my Facebook page I am not “really” present with the people at the dinner table. I am present with my virtual relationships. Both are important. But the question is, “Who is it important for me to be present with right now?” Give your time and attention to those relationships. There needs to be balance.
All this is true in our relationship with God. When are the times in our physical world that we need to turn to our “virtual” (through prayer) relationship with God? And when are the times that we need to turn to our “physical” relationship with our neighbor?
This dance is important if we are going to be able to do both in healthy ways and not become overwhelmed. Blessings in the journey.
Do you have any comments or other suggestions on managing all this? Please let me know by commenting here.