Minister’s Message: Practicing the right steps of presence

Instead of taking time to listen for God’s plan, I spun my mental wheels.

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 11:22pm
  • Life

For the last six months I have been preparing for a trip of a lifetime to trek through Nepal’s three infamous mountain passes. While the circumstances of receiving the invitation to travel with a friend is a remarkable story of its own, much of the anticipation for this adventure has been the countless hours spent training, planning, preparing and packing.

On a recent training hike in Girdwood, I was encouraged by a friend to make some time for prayer.

It was so easy in this setting to connect with God in looking at the wonders of the trees, feeling the falling snow and gazing at the majestic mountains. I set out talking to God about things on my heart and in my mind as I praised him for his glorious creation. What an amazing experience!

As time passed, my mind drifted to thinking about the upcoming trip and all the things I still needed to get together. I then became consumed with all the things I still needed to do before leaving. Instead of taking time to listen for God’s plan for me, I spun my mental wheels overwhelmed with major and minor lists and details.

Of course there was nothing I could actually do while out on my hike and then I was filled with unrest and more anxiety. As I tried to regain my focus to pray, I recalled the Bible verse of the day from Proverbs 16:9: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

I was so consumed with coming up with my own plans, that I was distracted from the time just to be with God. How often in life is it so easy to let circumstances and events shape your outlook when God is available and present to be with you and walk you through whatever you are facing.

I missed being in the presence of God with being preoccupied with the concerns I faced. What if, in times of being overwhelmed with life and even planning, we take those concerns to God and let him guide us in how to deal with them instead of trying to shoulder the load ourselves?

Jesus expands on this when he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus was addressing the great “burden” (or “yoke” for the farming folk) of focusing on doing good works instead of accepting God’s grace. It is easy in life to be preoccupied with concerns and trying to measure up when God simply wants us to be present with him in relationship and spend time with him.

This experience taught me how important it is to remember to practice being present with God, so that I can understand he will walk with and guide me.

What does it look like for you to practice being present with God? What in your life do you need to surrender to see God more clearly?

Frank Alioto pastors at Roots Family Church and serves as a Chaplain with Central Peninsula Hospital and Central Emergency Services.

• Frank Alioto pastors at Roots Family Church and serves as a Chaplain with Central Peninsula Hospital and Central Emergency Services.

More in Life

Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion
This French onion frittata is delicious and not too filling.
A light meal to fuel fun family outings

This French onion frittata is delicious and not too filling

Christ Lutheran Church Pastor Meredith Harber displays necklaces featuring the cross in this undated photo. (Photo by Meredith Harber/courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Interwoven together for good

I hope that we can find that we have more in common than we realize

Virgil Dahler photo courtesy of the KPC historical photo archive
This aerial view from about 1950 shows Jack Keeler’s home on his homestead east of Soldotna. The stream to the left is Soldotna Creek, and the bridge across the stream probably allowed early access to the Mackey Lakes area. The road to the right edge of the photo leads to the Sterling Highway.
Keeler Clan of the Kenai — Part 6

“Most of those homesteaders won’t last”

A sign points to the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, May 9, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Art Center accepting submissions for ‘Medieval Forest’

The deadline to submit art is Saturday at 5 p.m.

People identifying as Democrats and people identifying as Republicans sit face to face during a workshop put on by Braver Angels in this screenshot from “Braver Angels: Reuniting America.” (Screenshot courtesy Braver Angels)
KPC lecture series to feature film and discussion about connecting across political divide

“Braver Angels: Reuniting America” is a nonpartisan documentary about a workshop held in the aftermath of the 2016 election of Donald Trump

Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion
This basil avocado dressing is creamy, sweet, tangy, and herbaceous — great for use on bitter greens like kale and arugula.
Memories of basil and bowling with Dad

This dressing is creamy, sweet, tangy, and herbaceous

Photo courtesy of Al Hershberger
Don and Verona pose inside their first Soldotna grocery store in 1952, the year they opened for business.
Keeler Clan of the Kenai — Part 5

By 1952, the Wilsons constructed a simple, rectangular, wood-frame building and started the town’s first grocery

Minister’s Message: Finding freedom to restrain ourselves

We are free to speak at a higher level of intelligence

Dancers rehearse a hula routine at Diamond Dance Project near Soldotna on Thursday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Moving into magic

Diamond Dance Project all-studio concert puts original spin on familiar stories

Most Read