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The New Way of the Spirit + the Feeling of God's Presence



I've mentioned on the blog that lately I've been struggling with feeling like God is really far, that I'm having a hard time recognizing His presence and voice. But in the middle of a hard night, I was inspired by a verse in my Bible study, and began journaling. The words began to flow, and I was reminding myself of the beauty of the Father's presence, of His goodness and of His grace. I reminded myself how that feels, knowing the way life without Jesus feels compared to how life with Jesus feels. It's hard to explain, but the words that the Holy Spirit put on my heart were comforting to me, bringing me back to moments where seeing the Lord was a little bit easier, and it brought some clarity and peace back to my heart.


I know that God is so much greater than any of the words that I could ever choose, but I want to attempt to paint a picture for all of us some of the experiences that I've had. This is something that has revived my heart, that has reminded me of the Lord's goodness and faithfulness, and I pray that it would do the same for you, even just a little bit.


The verse that sparked this was Romans 7:6, which says, "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." I began thinking about this "new way of the Spirit" and what that looks like.


This new way brings freedom and life. It feels like a burden lifted off of your shoulders, like a real, deep breath of fresh air. It is light in the darkest parts of your mind, healing in the most wounded parts of your heart. It is humbling and occasionally uncomfortable but it is home and oddly safe. It requires sacrifice yet brings about incomparable, indescribable blessing. It is the foundation of all things, or else all things would weigh my soul down past the point of bearable sorrow.


This new way is boundless, endless, and one hundred percent completely free. There are no rules, no guidelines. If it was a place on earth it would be a field of flowers, far as the eye can see, with a gentle breeze and covered in warm sunshine. It is a way of life, but not an exclusive club. There are no prerequisites to get involved, no criteria to maintain, because you're already invited and welcomed and included - period.


When we walk in the new way of the Spirit, there is a new joy, one that isn't always loud or bold but is more often soft and quiet, like a calm contentment. There is peace regardless of what is going on in our lives, because we have a new foundation that is only dependent on Jesus and not our constantly changing circumstances or wavering emotions. Our identity is no longer dependent on our appearance or our deeds but the work that Christ completed on the cross, and there is freedom in that.


When we serve in the new way of the Spirit, like Paul encourages us to do, our perspective shifts from a "me me me" mentality to an others focused perspective. Our hearts soften and become selfless and humble, and the daily mundane tasks become intentional missions to grow the kingdom of God and make heaven crowded. There is purpose in every day because we are walking in our God given calling to love big and forgive often, and by doing that, we're being examples of Christ to everyone around us.


In this new way, there's no condemnation. There's no shame for your past or your sins. You don't get in trouble for the ways you've messed up because God isn't mad at you. He embraces you completely and fully, wrapping you in arms of endless grace and compassion. He wants to work on your heart, tending to the soil of your soul, rewiring worldly patterns and correcting unholy attitudes, because when you walk in the way of the Spirit instead of human nature, there is abundantly more life. You can release your grip on all of the hurt you've been holding onto, all the failures that you keep close to your chest, because the Father wants to release that burden and lead you to a place of peace and restoration.


To me, this feels like a deep, cleansing breath. It feels like my nervous system calming, like relief and gratitude. It feels like the goosebumps you get when the sun shines warmly on your skin, like the smell of salty ocean air and the sound of crashing waves. It's the feeling of "it's all going to be okay", like the turning of a page and changing of chapters. It feels the same way as dancing in your room to your favorite song, smiling and laughing at yourself, but being so happy to be in that simple moment. It's the same feeling I get on the Fourth of July, as fireworks boom above my head and I'm in awe of the beauty, humbled by the vastness of the dark skies and endless stars.


It's the opposite of clenched fists and anxious fidgeting. The feeling of God's presence and the new way of the Spirit is opposite of chaos and rushing, of late nights with swirling thoughts and restless sleep. It's the opposite of how your heart drops when you get bad news, opposite of the way your eyes burn when tears threaten to escape. It's the opposite of heartbreak, of disappointment, of fear, of guilt. It's the opposite of how your heart races when you try to navigate a pitch black room at night or when you get lost in an unfamiliar place. It's the opposite of when you leave a meal still hungry or tag along with a group of friends that you don't really belong in.


This is what the new way of the Spirit feels like to me, the sensations I feel when I sit in the Father's presence. And when God feels a little (or a lot) far, I'm bringing myself back to this place, back to the specific imagery of what it's like to "feel" near, a reminder that He is close, whether I recognize it or not. I don't want to allow myself to sulk in frustration or sadness, but pick myself back up and keep reminding my brain that God is good, that He is near, and that He is greater than whatever I feel in the moment.

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