Presence ~ the most important investment you can make in the lives of the people around you ~ just as it is the most important gift God showers on His children!
Are you actively involved in the life of the community around you, either as a leader, a teacher, a mentor, or a friend? Or, are you someone who has a heart for others, but feel you’re not sure you really have anything to offer, or you don’t know how to get involved?
Consider this: There is only one thing of true value that any of us has to offer.
Do you know what that one thing is? Are you wondering if you have it? The answer may seem simple, and it is, but it is not easy!
That one thing is this – presence. Not to be confused with presents, unless of course, you are talking about the presents of presence.
Are you wondering what presence looks like? Presence is best summed up in two words: consistency and availability. Notice I did not say constancy and always being by their side.
Consistency is demonstrated when you follow through on what you say, when you say the same thing with your life as you do with your words – you are the same person in every area of your life. You can count on the fact that others are watching how you live your life. Are you the same person at work as you are in church? Are you same on the sports field as you are in small group or family gatherings? Are you the same person in private settings as you are in public settings and vice versa? Do you hold and demonstrate the same values in all the different facets of your life? When you admonish others in your life to live with integrity, do you examine your own life to consider whether or not you are living with integrity? Are you honest and trustworthy in all your dealings? If the Holy Spirit reveals a discrepancy, are you quick to repent and be real and honest and confess your brokenness? Consistency.
Availability is demonstrated, not by always being there in person every single minute of the day, but by the ways you show others they are important to you. You might text a short message to remind them you are thinking of them and praying for them. Maybe you read a verse or passage of Scripture that applies to something they are facing, so find a way to share it with them – without a directive being attached to it. When they ask questions or share a story, are you there in that moment, focusing on them and not wandering off in your thoughts or planning for the next event of the day? When they call, do you respond, if not at that moment, then in a timely manner? When they ask for help, are you willing and ready to help? Availability.
It is not necessary for you to be perfect. It is not necessary for you to always be there instantly. But over the course of time, does your life and attitude toward others demonstrate genuine care and concern and attention to their needs? And do you demonstrate and verbalize how you provide care for yourself and your need for and dependence on the Presence of God in your own life?
Simple? Yes. Easy? No. But, oh so worthwhile!
I am grateful that God is schooling me in this area. I have been being challenged to grow in this area for some time, and it has been amped up since the fall – the beginning of my studies at MHGS (soon to officially be The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology).
Being present is not an easy task to undertake. But more and more I am understanding how much I miss out on by being distracted or otherwise occupied in thought, emotion, choice, or spirit. So, every question I asked above, I ask of myself over and over when I am with others, with my studies, with my Bible, with my God. My prayer is that I will be aware that I am so showered with the very Presence of God that showering that presence on others will become as natural as my breath. For truly, presence is the essence of true, God-breathed, unconditional love.
Now go, and shower your presence on those around you!