My friend sends me his favorite quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning from her poem Aurora Leigh. She writes this:
“Earth’s crammed with heaven, / And every common bush afire with God; / But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, / The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, / And daub their natural faces unaware. . . ”
I think about how to cultivate an awareness of God’s presence (to see, to take off my shoes on holy ground, to not live unaware) as I read a resonant quote from Brennan Manning this morning. He writes about saying “yes!” to an act of faith that is “a decisive, wholehearted response of my whole being to the risen Jesus present beside me, before me, around me, and within me.”
Manning presents the idea that this awareness of God “banishes meaninglessness–that dreaded sense that all our life experiences are disconnected and useless.” Now, we can “see our lives as all of one piece” with a divine design in everything.
Awareness of God means we see the divine design.
The act of faith: to first believe that Jesus is here with you now, working on your behalf, and always wishing to reveal Himself. There’s a grand design. There’s a whole spiritual world you cannot see except through faith.
I’m beginning to think there’s an overlooked spiritual discipline of awareness. I think about David in Psalm 25:5 who said “my hope is in you all day long.” All day long. He wrote about God these words in Psalm 26: “Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” Ever before me. Continually in your truth. To see everything through the lens of God’s love, God’s design, and God’s revealing of Himself means we choose this disposition of our heart. We practice it. We interpret the day through this discipline.
So how? Faith. Choosing. Trusting God’s word. Knowing there’s things happening in the spiritual realm all the time, and sometimes, we know that something happening here has touched eternity. We thank God all day long for His provision and peace. But there’s also hope. There’s expectation.
David says in Psalm 5:3 that he lays his requests before the Lord each morning and then “[waits] in expectation.”
As we teach others about Jesus, we invite them to enjoy their conscious union with Him. We might present it as a spiritual discipline of faith and hope each new day.