I am honored to have Lucinda Secrest McDowell guest post for me today with an excerpt from her book Dwelling Places. In memory of my dad on Father’s Day, I chose one about skydiving with Jesus. You see, I think my dad only went skydiving three times, but I’ll never forget the whoop he gave when he did it. Not only did he love skydiving, but he was a man who followed some of what McDowell talks about in this post–he kept Jesus close.
Please enjoy this post by a woman I am so glad to know. Happy Father’s Day!
On Those Days You Feel Alone
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Feel all alone? Actually you’re not.
God promised Moses “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) That promise is also true for us today.
Kevin better understood God’s continual presence after a tandem skydiving experience. “Though I couldn’t see my instructor—he was strapped to my back—as we jumped from 13,500 feet and whipped through the sky at 120 miles per hour I knew he was there. After 60 seconds of freefall, he pulled the chute, and we soared. Every twist and turn we made, we made together. We were on the same trajectory.”
Can you just picture Jesus strapped to your back as you soar through your daily activities? Do you know He is there?
John Ortberg says that “our deepest calling is the ‘with God’ life (Him dwelling in His people) and then what we do with that to touch a hurting world.” In other words, first, be filled, so you are empowered to go out and fill others!
And God’s presence makes the perfect dwelling place for our soul. – “The ‘with God’ life is not a life of more religious activities or devotions or trying to be good. It is a life of inner peace and contentment for your soul with the Maker and Manager of the universe.”
This truth doesn’t change just because you don’t sense a connection. If you don’t feel His presence, all you have to do is invite Him back, acknowledging that your efforts of going it alone have failed. King David knew what to do: “I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8) Here “set” is an active verb that implies you have a role in determining that your soul rests in the constant presence of God at your “right hand.”
This is simply one way of paying attention to the Constant Companion in our life. Brother Lawrence, a monk in the twelfth century, called it “practicing the presence of God” and illustrated with his simple life that he could pray and focus on God in the midst of service among the pots and pans. We can do the same, but it will require us to live intentionally:
- Awaken each morning with a heart of gratitude and expectancy for what God will do both in you and through you.
- Use household objects or gifts as ‘prayer prompts’ for others. For instance, there’s a glass bluebird on my windowsill given to me by a dear overseas friend—every time I pass the bird I send up a prayer for her.
- Ask to see others as God sees them. Know that He may help you respond in a different manner.
- When driving alone or sitting alone, picture Jesus in the seat next to you and pour out your heart in honest conversation, just as you might do with a dear friend.
- Fill your mind with hymns and songs of praise, and Scripture, offering them up in worship.
The best part of all about skydiving with Jesus? The flight may be both exhilarating and scary at times, but there’s always a safe landing.
©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Abingdon Press)
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net