Trust — my word for 2020 — has proven to be just what I needed. Crazy how one five-letter word can become a sustaining anchor. A rock to cling to when life crumbles and shakes and looks nothing like you expected.

Early in the year, I dug into what it looks like to fully trust God, and quickly surmised that much is required of me. First and foremost, I must be present with Him. I need to seek His presence. Consistently. Sincerely.

Yes, God is always present, always near. But if I don’t shift my focus from myself and my long list of worries and to do’s, I am the one who is not present with Him. Without my full involvement and my undistracted attention, my faith lacks. My trust wavers. My hope flails.

Like Peter, I started off the year with much gusto — with a great Bible study, a new reading plan, and solid prayer-partners. I developed a new quiet time rhythm. And I could tell a difference in my soul.

Then one day in March, the world flipped upside-down. The church where I worked shut things down along with the rest of America, the world. At first I loved the staying-home, the being present with my family all the time. I increased my quiet time and picked up journaling.

But weeks turned to months and emotions ran up and down. It was so easy to let my eyes focus on the waves thrashing about me. But as long as I kept my eyes on Jesus, my constant source of peace and hope remained steady. As long as I made myself present with God — fully engaging, fervently imploring — He was present with me — firmly embracing, forever empowering.

2020 came with more crashes and curve-balls, but what never changed was this daily rhythm with God. I take all I’ve experienced and learned into 2021, knowing that whatever the new year brings, I can trust God. And, as long as I make myself present to Him, He will gift me with His presence.

Published by Shelley Linn Johnson

Lover of The Word. And words. Cultivator of curiosity about all things Christ. Lifelong learner who likes inviting others along for the journey. Recovering perfectionist who has only recently realized that rhythms are so much better than stress-inducing must-do's.

5 thoughts on “Present

  1. Shelley, this is a most profound look at the word “present” and its many variations and meanings. The most powerful of those is the presence of God and Christ in our lives. Thanks for touching base on my post, and I in turn went to find yours.

  2. My word for 2020 was ‘whatever’, which did seem to it. For 2021 it’s “Dude!”

    It’s been a year of cancer,
    and it’s no jibe or jape
    to say survival’s answer
    is staying in good shape.
    I hit the weight room every day,
    there’ll be no Christmas pause,
    and if you ask, “Why live that way?”
    I’ll tell you it’s because
    I really truly love my life,
    and everything around:
    work and dogs and, yes, my wife,
    and through it all I’ve found
    that though I do spit bloody bile,
    my well-loved days make all worthwhile.

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