Perpetual Motion & Being With God

Keith KettenringChristian Living, Prayer & Fasting, The Uncommon Journey

How do you function in this world while seeking to live in God’s presence? Practically speaking, how can you do what must be done while actually communing with God? 

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If you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to share an example – 

This past weekend, we are in perpetual motion. Friday, we prepare for a family of guests arriving around 7 PM. We just had our most upper room painted and it had to be put back together – two beds, pictures, decorations, furniture. It’s also our hottest room. So we purchase a portable air conditioner and set that up. Our guests arrive on time. We orient them. They leave for dinner. We grab a dinner ourselves, return to welcome our guests again who want to chat over some wine. So we chit-chat on our back porch until after 11:00 PM. 

After a few hours of sleep, we awake and start preparing breakfast – two new recipes (always makes us a bit nervous), coffee, juice, table settings, ambiance, etc. Our guests come down on time, eat, talk a bit and leave around 9:15 AM. Then it’s clean up – bedding to wash and room clean up. During this time we make arrangements to pick up a buffet from an estate sale. We arrange to borrow a truck, pay for the item over the phone, and get ready to go. Once the breakfast cleanup is done, we head out the door for the 30 minute trip to Soddy-Daisy, TN to get the buffet. 

We arrive at a beautiful farm, chat with the estate owners (friends of ours) for a while, set up a dinner date with them, walk the house, get the buffet loaded and secured on the truck, and head home stopping for lunch on the way. 

We get home, unload the buffet with the help of Doug, our neighbor, and return the borrowed truck. We return home to put together my (Keith’s) new (yippee!) Webber Mountain Smoker since we are having a group gathering Sunday night with ribs on the menu. I spend about 1.5 hours putting it together and get it working to burn off any residual stuff from the manufacturer while Rhonda continues to clean up from our Friday night group.  

While it smokes, we head for N. Georgia to help our brother and sis-in-law look over a house for a potential Airbnb property. On our way home, two hours later, we stop at Wal-Mart to pick up fruit to make a salad for church tomorrow.

Now we’re back home in time to care for some items around the house. We crash on our recliners around 9:00 PM to watch a little Father Brown. Around 10:00 we receive an Airbnb request from a young man who wants to stay tonight. We reply yes. That sets in motion some preparation for his arrival since we are still cleaning up from the group that left that morning. He arrives just after midnight. We talk a bit – he’s a businessman from Columbia, South America who manufactures clothing designed for Latino women. He settles in. We go to bed. 

Sunday morning we are up early and get the fruit salad made. We prepare breakfast for Andres, our guest. Since a single guy is in our home for the morning, we decide that Rhonda will take the fruit salad for church and I’ll stay home to care for our guest. It works out very well. 

As I’m able, between caring for Andres, I begin preparing the ribs – rub, sauce, etc. – and cleaning up breakfast dishes. Andres hangs around until a little after noon. Rhonda returns and we catch a quick lunch, shop for some items for our group dinner, and return home. Now it’s time to get many things ready for the rib dinner and gathering at the pool. 

People start arriving around 5:30 PM. Ribs are smoking. Food is being prepared. We’re talking with people. Music is playing. We’re humming along at a good pace. 

We eat and relax a bit. Then it’s clean-up time and good-byes are said. Around 9:00 PM we sit down to watch the rest of Father Brown (from Friday night). We both go to bed an hour later fairly exhausted and thankful for a full weekend. 

I say all that to say this, the ONLY way I could have communed with God this weekend was to do it while in the midst of all this activity. There was no time for solitude and silence (which I advocate and experience regularly). Yet, there was more than ample time for communion with God in the midst of all this activity. You could say I wasn’t busy: I was praying. 

While dicing bell peppers, tightening screws, driving, skimming the pool, preparing a dry rub and sauce, putting dishes in the dishwasher, cutting grapes in half, setting the table, grinding coffee beans, walking through an estate sale, nodding off to sleep, moving furniture around, and hanging pictures, communion with God can take place.

For me, the best way to commune with God in the midst of activity is to say the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It’s short. It’s memorable. It’s doable. It, over time, connects the heart to God. Without a doubt, it’s my “go-to” prayer allowing me to commune with God all day long, no matter what I’m doing. 

As I reflect back over these 48 hours, my heart is full – not because so much was accomplished, but because God was there and I experienced Him there – wherever and whatever “there” was. 

I am not boasting. I’m thankful. I am thankful that this is where God has me. I am truly happy in the weariness and constant motion because I get to struggle to commune with God in all of it. 

If you’re interested in learning to commune with God throughout your day, learn the Jesus Prayer. Say it as often as you can. It is an effective way to experience God’s presence no matter your level of activity. 

Thanks be to God! 

Dr. K