Back in early June, I was talking with my friend Amy at a picnic. Here’s one thing that I told her: “It’s funny, I must be smiling a lot more lately, because I keep noticing that my jaw is tired and then it dawns on me that I’ve had my mouth in a smile for a long stretch. I’m not quite sure why I’m smiling more, but I know I am.” We laughed, and that was that conversation.
Later, though, I reflected on this smiling business, and found it pretty easy to pinpoint at least one reason why I’d been feeling happier. Makes a whole lot of sense, actually.
Back up a week or two earlier, and I had been in a fairly prayer-less phase of life. I was going about my life with little thought to ask God and thank God for things. Once in a while I would set aside time to pray, but have trouble feeling very connected or thinking of much to pray for, and would end up a bit discouraged. I started to remember the best seasons of prayerful communion with God that I’d had in the past, and to want to have that again.
So I determined, as a step toward that, I would set aside 5-10 minutes every day to simply “sit in God’s presence.” Let me try to explain what I mean by that, since I’m sure it’s not easily understood. First off, I realize that the entirety of our lives are spent in God’s presence, so I had no intention of separating time into two categories (that spent in His presence and that spent away from it). Instead, my intention was simply to set aside specific time each day to remind myself of His continuing presence. I didn’t necessarily intend for this to be a time of “prayer” so much as a time of reflection. Though I found it often naturally turned into prayer.
For me, it was a time to acknowledge God. To meditate on His existence and nearness. To remember my relationship to Him and His relationship to me. Similar to a little girl who hangs around her mother’s skirt or who wants to be held in her mother’s arms, even when there is no communication between them, it was a time for me to simply “be” with God, putting myself in a frame of mind that desired to communicate with Him.
It wasn’t long before such a small thing began to make a significant difference! I found myself naturally asking Him for things and thanking Him for things, not only during the time I had set aside, but all throughout the day, because I was tuned into His presence in a way I hadn’t been for some time. It was only natural and it still remains the natural thing for me.
And so, I believe I started to smile more often as well. It’s a beautiful thing to be bought with a price by the blood of His Son, adopted into His family to be cared for as His own sons and daughters! Experiencing that close relationship in daily communication is such a wonderful reason to smile! Wouldn’t you agree?
– Laura Anne