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a song by Cody Carnes

(check the links below to listen while you read)

The first time I heard this song, it captured something within me that I hadn’t been able to put into words. It brought me back to a place that I hadn’t been in years; the place where I first met with the Holy Spirit in a deep and life-changing way. A place where I don’t think we go often enough;

“I’m caught up in Your presence, I just want to sit here at Your feet. I’m caught up in this holy moment, I never want to leave”.

Have you ever had a time where you were just swept in to the whirlwind of the sweet presence of God? When was it? Where were you? This happened in my teenage years when we ministered at kids camps under Rob Clark’s leadership. He shaped the chapels so that night after night, we just let the Holy Spirit move. For hours we would remain in the chapel after the service had officially ended, the number of people slowly dwindling down, unaware of time. This song brought back such vivid memories of physically not wanting to leave, wishing I could stay in that place forever.

“Oh I’m not here for blessings, Jesus, You don’t owe me anything. More than anything that You can do, I just want you.”

What a time of need we are in right now, globally, in our communities, in our homes and even in our spirits. We come to Jesus with all of these needs – as we should, as He wants us to. However, in the season that I’m currently in, my need has outweighed my relationship with Him. I come to Him daily, pouring out my heart, contending for His promises, praying for change, and I have forgotten this first-love relationship that comes through presence and not through practice. When was the last time you spent time, just inviting His presence into your moment, creating a quiet space where you just turn the affection of your heart toward Him, and let go? To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to do this privately more than a handful of times. It is a discipline – a routine that you don’t want to do out of obligation, but if you don’t make it happen, it certainly won’t happen on its own. Life doesn’t lend itself well to spontaneous moments of reflection. While Jesus can break through the noise of your day, I think He would much rather be invited into it. I don’t think He should have to fight for our attention, He is worthy of so much more.

“I’m sorry when I’ve just gone through the motions, I’m sorry when I just sang another song. Take me back to where we started, I open up my heart to You.”

What honesty in these lyrics. It reminds me of Psalm 51: 17: “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

“I’m sorry when I’ve come with my agenda, I’m sorry when I forgot that You’re enough. Take me back to where we started, I open up my heart to You.”

I love these words; they capture that place of repentance without bringing condemnation. The loving kindness of our God that draws us back to Him, daily changing the path we set ourselves on.

And finally, the build of the song comes with the repeat of the line:

“I just want you, nothing else, nothing else, nothing else will do.”

So simple, and still so profound. Everything falls in to place when Jesus is at the center. It's how we can say “It is well with my soul” in the midst of loss and tragedy. Because when He is our source, there is nothing else we need, nothing else will ever come close to the habituating presence of the Holy Spirit. It is how we were created to live. But as I said at the start, it’s a place we don’t go often enough. So where do we start? I believe there are some practical ways to do it (I’m a mom of young kids, so I need all of the tips and tricks).

  • Try to set the time when you won’t be interrupted. Put your phone in another room – get your kids into some sort of quiet time. (I am optimistic that this will get easier as my kids grow. But in the meantime, I’m not willing to delay my relationship with the Lord and wait for the time to be more convenient. If He is my daily bread, I must make the time.)
  • Try setting a timer. I don’t mean for you to set a timer on God, its more about keeping yourself focussed and disciplined so that you’re not watching the clock – 10 minutes can feel like an hour sometimes. It also helps your kids to understand that you are having your own quiet time, and they know when they will be allowed to get your attention again.
  • Start by listening to one worship song or telling the Lord what you’re thankful for – thanking him for the beautiful day, thanking him for his presence, thanking him for the song-birds, thanking him for what He did on the cross. Just start being thankful.
  • Talk out loud. My praying is much more focused and far less rambling when I am speaking out loud.
  • Then get quiet and invite Him to be in Your moment. This is very intangible, but begin turning your heart towards Him.
  • Have a pen and paper handy – this can be to write down what You hear the Lord saying. It also helps me because I always seem to remember my to-do list best when I’m trying to quiet my thoughts. Just writing it down on the corner of my page allows me to let it go and re-center myself, rather than willing myself to remember it later.

I am definitely no expert. And even writing this all out helps me to identify areas that I want to work on. Our challenge is to live in that balance of routine spontaneity – giving space for our spirits to retreat with the Lord in a planned yet unstructured moment. Creating the moment, but not fabricating the experience; we don’t come with an agenda, we don’t come for blessings, our hearts are simply desperate to be connected to the One our spirit cries out to – and nothing else will do.