Doing mission with a partner

(This is Part 6 in a series exploring the theme of adventure. Here are the links for Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, and Part 5.)

 We’ve talked about mission, risk, fear, courage, and obedience. Seems like a straightforward-enough package. What’s left to talk about?

Photo by Justin Shearer. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.

Photo by Justin Shearer. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.

God’s presence, that’s what. If we try to tackle a mission by ourselves, it’s not going to work. No human being can provide you with enough courage to tackle the God-sized mission you have. Only God can do it.

Only God can overcome your fear, terror, and discouragement. Only God can truly give you courage.

And only God makes obedience not a spectator sport. He’s not off in the distance, watching us and evaluating us like Olympic judges. He’s with us, aiding us with his perfectly benevolent presence while we do it (and even when we blow it).

It’s so easy to lose sight of God’s presence amidst the frenetic activity of our days. How do we keep aware of it? Here’s some suggestions:

  • Pause for one moment and ask, “God, where are You right now?” Listen for His answer.
  • Ask yourself at the end of each day, “Where did I see God today?” Journal your answers. Periodically read them to encourage yourself.

Question: What do you do to stay aware of God?

Leave a comment to continue our conversation.

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  • Andrew, maybe I am a cynic and you have a category for me 🙂 but it seems weird to ask a God who promises to be ever present with us a question like “where are you” and maybe I am confused with your question and want to hear more of your intent behind it.

    It feels like compartmentalizing to ask questions like that rather than see God in every relationship, in every conversation, in every meeting I had, in every car ride, in every interaction with my wife, in every book I read…he promises to dwell in me. HOw I talked to the mailman, whether I talked to the mailman, whether I avoided the mailman…

    What do I do to stay more aware…it seems to me that those questions create artificial compartments for him to be in and for me to be aware of him being in.

    Instead, to be more aware I may ask…..where am I creating compartments for me to see God in…and where do I need to remove those to see Gods involvement more clearly. I seek to see God affect every area of life and be involved and incorporated into every area of life.

    • andrewcyee

      David, excellent question! From reading your comment, I think we’re talking about the same idea using different terms. The main idea sounds like it’s, “How can we be more aware of God’s presence in our lives?” It sounds like you’re coming at it from the angle of, “God, how am I limiting the places where I can see You, and what can I do to see You in more areas of my life (where You’re already working)?” In other words, how can I not put God in a box? I’m coming at it from the angle of, “God I know You’re with me in this activity I’m doing right now, but I don’t have a good sense of Your presence. Will you help me find it?” In other words, I know You’re there, but I don’t have a sense of Your presence.

      My “Where are You?” question is designed to help us step into the tension many of us experience between what Scripture teaches (that God is always with us – e.g., Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5) and that we, at any given moment, may not be having a felt experience of God’s presence or in fact may be having a felt experience of God being absent. (Psalms 13 and 22 plus Jesus’ quotation of the latter while on the cross are a reasonable starting point for this.)

      To continue our friendly conversation, let me ask you: How do you see someone concretely practicing seeing God in every moment of life?

      • good stuff andrew- I get it a little more clearly- as you state it to say “I don’t feel your presence” is to help those who wrestle with looking at their lives and not seeing God actively engaged.

        My first reaction to seeing God in every moment comes in the moments when we feel like we need him—cancer, death, suffering, challenges…and it seems that those moments tend to be the big moments, so here are a few examples where we could feel his presence more in our day to day rather than see him absent from them.

        I guess its in the “Im an A type personality and thats just who I am”….no God is working there too to help you be more patient, so engage with him there. or someone who says, “I am always reaching out to others but they are never reaching out to me…I am always the one giving”…. well, I think God needs to step in and be sufficient and help you work through some loneliness issues seek that out. “I paid my mortgage, my car payment, my insurance, my school loans, and now I want to have God help me decide what to do with the rest…” no, God in all ares of finances how would you have me utilize my resources and maybe its actively seeking God to reveal that (doesn’t mean that its separate from a financial counselor). “I have some medical ailment and I went to the doctor, and 2nd doctor for an opinion and then to a specialist and then to…” no, its all faith- in going to the doctor, just exercising faith that God is working.

        It seems to me the practical thing is simply a change in thinking from….Im responsible for all these things and when I cannot handle it anymore- then I go to God.

        WE try everything else first….then go to Jesus.
        Or some things are just too small and God doesn’t need to worry about it.

        In my mind the practical help is simply in processing to change our thinking.

        If I am not feeling his presence but I know he’s there…I would encourage you to go back to thinking because I believe thinking drives emotion.

        If I am thinking correctly then emotions will follow.

        I would encourage them to go back to really thinking about those ideas that God is with me, and if I say I believe it…but Im not feeling his presence….then the most reasonable conclusion is that you don’t believe it as much as you thought you did.

        Go back and change/increase your thinking of Gods presence.

        Does that make sense?

        • andrewcyee

          David, sorry to take so long to reply. I’ve been traveling a lot recently, and I’m just now getting caught up on all my messages.

          If I understand you correctly, it sounds like you’re saying that if I don’t feel God’s presence, then the issue is that at some level, I don’t believe that He’s really there. I need to change my thinking/believing, and once I have that in a better place, the feelings will naturally follow. Do I indeed understand you correctly?

          Assuming I do, then I certainly agree that it is beneficial for us to practice thinking that God is present in every moment and every situation. And I certainly agree that most, if not all, of us don’t do this as well as we could or even as well as we think we do.

          I would also want to say that God’s presence is not conditioned by whether or not we feel it. Even if we don’t feel his presence, He is certainly present. How He is present is an open question, to be sure. It does seem, though, that quite a few of us Christians use emotions and felt experience to evaluate whether God is present. I can tell that we’re both aiming in our own ways to bust through that myth.