Summary: In this stand-alone message, an introduction to the new series Love Without Limits, Dave explains the power of simply being present to God.

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Being with God

Wildwind Community Church

David Flowers

December 27, 2009

Remember dating when you were a teenager? Yes, let's talk about that horrifically awful time. All the awkwardness, the constant self-analysis, always asking yourself if you're doing okay, saying the right thing, not eating too much (girls), not being too insensitive, but not being too emotional (guys), not moving too fast or too slow, playing it just the right amount of cool, wearing the right clothes, leaving a good impression. Girls, you end up thinking, "Is he going to call me again?" Guys, you think, "Does she want me to call her?" I mean, there you are at the LEAST confident time of your life, your tender identity just beginning to blossom on the vine, and you have to put yourself out there, take big risks, be totally out there exposed and vulnerable. That is a painful time, isn't it?

Fast forward to the last time you took a long trip with your significant other. Was there a lot of self-analysis? Were you self-conscious? Were you constantly watching what you said and did, monitoring every single behavior, worried about whether or not you should grab his/her hand, worried about what outfit you had on that day? Now I realize established relationships could often benefit from more attention to these basic things, but let's face it -- one of the things we love about an established, healthy relationship is that we don't have to live in constant insecurity and monitor our every word, thought, and action. There is a comfort. Heck, I'll bet on that last long trip, you even had very, very long periods of complete silence, didn't you? (Some of you WISH you did!)

Can you imagine doing that on a date as a teenager? Heck no! You feel this need to fill up every moment with talk -- and not only talk, but fantastic, hilarious, warm-hearted, deep, sympathetic, compassionate, brilliant, amusing, engaging, and highly intelligent talk, if at all possible. It has to be there, and it has to be good! But what happens when you get to know somebody and most of the stories have been told? What happens when you can no longer be all of those amazing things, because someone knows you deeper than that? What happens when someone has seen you explode in anger because you lost your car keys, or throw a fit because the house was messy, or act toward your kids in ways they know you are ashamed of? What happens when there is nowhere to hide anymore and someone is with you all the time and knows and sees all?

If somebody would have been able to clearly explain to you when you were a teenager that that time would one day come -- c'mon, admit it, you'd have probably thrown up on the spot! I mean, as tense and nervous as you were then, the idea of sitting with someone in silence, the idea of being known that way -- that would have COMPLETELY freaked you out.

When you are dating, or when you are first married, you see old couples walking down the street holding hands and not saying a word. And you think, "I wonder what's wrong with them." You assume there's something wrong with their relationship. But as you get older, you start to understand that what's really happening is something far deeper, far more significant than what you could ever have previously realized. You begin to understand that they have moved away from talk and activity as the foundation for their relationship (Why won't you talk to me? What are we going to DO tonight?), and they have established a foundation that is far more joyful, comfortable, and fulfilling, based on simple presence. Unpretentious, comfortable, peaceful, presence.

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