Guest Blog from Lucinda Secrest McDowell, author of “Dwelling Places”
Where Do You Dwell?
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
In the days preceding the New Year, one word kept clamoring for my attention from surprising places – dwell.
I read it in my psalm for the day “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91.1) I noticed “DWELL” on the masthead of a glossy magazine all about clean living spaces. I uttered it as an admonition to someone – “Don’t dwell on your past mistakes.”
Hard not to notice it, so I became curious. And finally turned to God in prayer and whispered, “Okay. Dwell. Please reveal what You want me to learn from this word.”
So as my word-for-the-year marinated in heart and mind, I embraced both meanings of dwell: 1. to live and 2. to focus. It soon became obvious that all too often I live amidst hurry and obligation, dwelling in anxiety and surrounded by noise. And where was my default focus — circumstances, lists, self-preservation, tasks, things?
Throughout the Bible God calls His people to dwell with Him constantly. He offers us a refuge and shelter and He fills it with a beauty and peace that is restorative. And, best of all, He sends Jesus Christ to dwell in our hearts and make His home with us forever!
Would you like some of that in your life?
First we must acknowledge that God is the only One who can provide such a life for us. Moses, that great wanderer, knew this. God had long ago promised to be with him wherever he journeyed. So even though he was often a stranger in a strange land, Moses was confident in his true dwelling: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations… from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90.1-2)
And this same God invites us to dwell with Him!
In the original language of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for dwell is yashab which is translated “to dwell, to sit down, to remain.” How can we possibly do this? Sitting down is considered unproductive – we are a culture on the move! Believe me, friend, I know the challenges of making time for close communion with God in prayer and study – that’s why I try to focus on one word a day from God’s Word.
We can do that!
After all, we have certainly dwelt everywhere else — we give our time and resources to other places, people and projects without a second thought. And all along, God is there with us, offering us His continual presence no matter where our journey might lead. Do you have a difficult appointment today? He’ll go with you. Do you cry yourself to sleep at night? He’s beside you, holding you close. His constant presence is the greatest gift of all.
©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Abingdon Press)
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net