Your Presence is Missed

I’m the kind of person who likes just enough structure in her life that she knows, “Okay, so I’m supposed to be here at this time and there and that time, but I have all this time to do whatever I want or need to do.” I work at a call center where I work a very consistent schedule. I work 4:45 pm to 1:15 am Tuesday through Saturday and I’m off on Sundays and Mondays. Every Sunday I wake up early to go to church and usually come home to take a nap before going to visit my family for the evening. On Monday nights, I go to a horseback riding lesson. It’s a very good schedule for me, because I have at least one thing that is consistently the same every day while the rest of the day is set aside for decompressing and relaxing. If those parts of my schedule are not exactly the same every week, then it makes me feel kind of strange and disorientated. Even if those things are the same, but someone who is normally around me is gone, it’s just as disorienting. I can literally feel their absence, especially if they’re someone I spend a lot of time with.

At work, I have a close friend named Stephanie whose presence, or lack thereof, I can always feel. For a long time, I didn’t even realize it, because for my first year and a half of working there, we shared most of the same work days, so I never really had to miss her presence. Half-way through this year though, we did what’s called a “global shift bid” where everyone has to give up their schedule and reclaim it if they can/want to or pick something new. Stephanie and I both picked something new so now we only work two of the same days. This change happened five months ago and it’s still a bit disorienting to work on her off days. It’s especially disorienting if she’s not at work for part or all of one of the days she and I normally work together.

On Sundays at church, I always see my best friend, Shelby. She’s the worship leader and she’s up on stage 99.9% of all Sundays, so it’s incredibly rare that she’s not at church. I’m not the worship leader, but it’s just as rare that I’m not at church. For the most part, I’ve seen Shelby every Sunday for four years now. When she’s not at church I definitely feel her absence. Today was one of those days. Things were a little different this time though. After I recognized the disorienting feeling, I felt a tugging at my heart asking, “Do you feel this disoriented or strange when you feel the absence of God in your life?” Yikes! Imagine how convicted you would feel to be asked that at home or at work, but to be asked that at church. Yeah, that’s definitely convicting!

I’m not a perfect Christian. Who is? I’m not even a good Christian. Again, who is? I do have a few good practices though. In every day life, when something abnormal happens I acknowledge God. If it’s good, I praise him for allowing it to happen. If it’s not so good, I pray that He in His infinite wisdom will fix the problem or change my perspective. I listen to worship music, play it on my guitar, and/or write worship lyrics on a semi-regular basis. I even tend to present myself in such a way that people around me know that I’m a Christian whether I’ve deliberately told them or not.

On the other end of the spectrum, I also have a habit of not deliberately setting aside moments for God. I try to remember to and most of the time I do remember that I need to do it, but I’m often in the middle of doing something else and then end up forgetting or I get caught up in something else. I pray in the moments when I need something or something exceptional has happened, but I don’t often deliberately sit down to have a conversation with God. Nor do I deliberately take moments out of my day to worship Him.

I’m a writer, a musician, and I like to doodle and sketch. These are three hobbies that are perfect ways both to share my prayers and praises with God. All I need is a journal and pen or pencil or even my smart phone and I can write and sketch my prayers and praises out for Him. My job is not a time consuming job. As previously stated, I work at a call center at night. I get plenty of time between calls that I could use for journaling, writing, and/or sketching. In fact, I usually do use the time between calls to do one or more of these three things. Why not do them still but for the Lord? The same goes for reading my Bible. I have a horrible habit of looking the part and carrying my Bible around with me but not actually opening it. I plan to, I really do, but I get caught up in the conversations between my coworkers, which let’s be honest, I really shouldn’t be a part of at least half the time because they tend to be rather inappropriate. Really. It’s true and they know it, because if they know I’m listening or even joining in, they (mostly the before mentioned Stephanie) try to clean up the conversation or at least apologize for it. I appreciate that, I really do, but she shouldn’t have to apologize, because I shouldn’t be a part of the conversation in the first place. These moments especially are the moments that I could and should be using my time to share my prayers and praises with God and to get answers back from Him through the Bible.

I do have moments when I feel His absence, but it’s often not until I’ve already started to slip into temptation. Like when I’m joining in on inappropriate conversations with my coworkers, or I start to feel anxious, or worried, or those moments when I know I’m about to do something I’m going to regret, but I do it anyway because I think maybe this time it will be okay. Spoiler Alert: It won’t be okay this time just like it wasn’t okay last time! I know, I know, as a Christian I’m “not supposed” to admit that I sometimes deliberately do something I’m not supposed to do, but you see, that’s exactly what Christians are supposed to do. How are non-Believers ever supposed to relate to us or come to know Jesus through us if we put up walls to block out all our imperfections? Last time I checked, there was only one perfect person and He died on the cross over 2000 years ago so that imperfect Christians like you and I could be real with Him and each other and still get into Heaven when we accept His sacrifice, repent of our sins, and try to do what He asks us to do. I’m not perfect, but I do serve a perfect God who loves me and forgives me when I repent from my sins, even the deliberate ones. Anyway, this a post for another time.

The point is, if I feel the absence of Stephanie when she’s not at work and Shelby when she’s not at church, then surely I should feel the absence of God when I’m not spending time with Him every day. If I’m not feeling that absence, then it’s definitely been too long since I’ve made it a habit to spend that extra time with Him. I pray that this will become a “problem” for me. That it will become such a strong habit for me to spend time with God daily that it feels strand and disorienting for me not to spend time with Him. I pray this same thing for you, whoever you are, who are reading this post right now. I want us to feel like something is missing from our lives when we’re not spending regular time with God, just like I feel like something is missing from my life when Stephanie isn’t at work or Shelby isn’t at church. To be completely transparent, I actually felt that way twice in the past five days, because Stephanie left work early on Wednesday and Shelby wasn’t at church today. Do you know how many times I felt like something was missing from my life because I wasn’t spending time with God this week? I’m ashamed to say it, but before this morning when He nudged my heart, I didn’t really feel like anything was missing, at least, I didn’t realize I felt like something was missing.

As often as you think of me, please pray with me and for me to deliberately spend with time. I want to feel like something is missing when I haven’t deliberately spent time with Him. I’ll be doing the same for you! If you made it this far in reading this post, then thank you and God bless you! ❤

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