A few years ago, while working as a chaplain, I was taught a very important skill about presence. I explored how my presence mattered even when I felt it did not. I explored clearing my agenda, my mind, so that I would be available to others. I also learned about being a non-anxious presence. This final skill has been helpful in every corner of my life. Being a non-anxious presence with my children is to communicate to them that they are “OK” and I am “OK.” It is protection that they need to see and feel. In my marriage, being a non-anxious presence means patience and listening without judgment. In my home, it means creating peace instead of chaos.
When I call on Jesus in a stressful situation, I imagine a non-anxious presence. One that reminds me to take a breath, relax and take in the whole picture. I am also invited to remember that Jesus has already saved the world. He does not really need my help to do something that has already been done. Yet he invites me to help others experience His peace.
In Luke chapter 4, we learn about Jesus and his temptation in the wilderness. After spending 40 days with temptation, the returns to Nazareth to worship in the synagogue.
The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the
prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. He began to explain to them, “Today, the scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.” Luke 4:17-21
This scripture that Jesus read comes from Isaiah. Jesus knew the scripture, as did others in the synagogue that day. Anxiety could have taken over the presence of God in the room, but it didn’t. From baptism to temptation to beginning His ministry, Jesus models for us a non-anxious presence.
Each day as activity picks up around our homes, I invite you to think about your presence with those you love. Those inside your tent. How can a non-anxious presence bless those around you? How can it bless you and your walk with Christ?