Reflections from Confirmation weekend worship

There’s something special about the song, “Holy Spirit.”

Classical and romantic composer, Schubert, once described the major D chord as the key of glory, triumph, hallelujahs, and rejoicing. The Grammy award-winning song, “Holy Spirit,” begins softly on an open D chord meant to fill the space. Light guitar strumming picks apart the D chord to emphasize all notes. As the song progresses, the drums, bass, and vocals layer significance to build the feel and awareness of the space. A space that invites us to notice the present moment, and the Holy Spirit working in it. The lyrics cry for the worthiness of the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and the space.

Notice the thoughts that guide us

Over the past few weeks, Pastor Jon has led us through a sermon series encouraging us to take notice of our thoughts and how they influence the way we interact with the world. Pastor Jon explains that it can be the quality of our thoughts that affect and impact the quality of our mind, and what leads our actions. Pastor Jon highlights James 1:13-16 describing how negative thoughts leave us stuck, and getting stuck means we dwell on negative things, and what we dwell on is what we become. In the long run, no good comes from dwelling on negative thoughts.

As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I work as a mental health counselor, and so, I wanted to tie in a little therapeutic knowledge about “negative” thoughts and how they can place us in the past, present and future. 

Thoughts are important and specific to the human race. Humans can have around 60-75 thousand thoughts in a day. Thoughts are important because they give our minds the necessary information needed to survive our days. They tell us where we are, if we are safe, how we are feeling, how others are responding to us, and how we should respond to others. We learn from past experiences. Therefore, our thoughts can pull us back to the past when we think about past interactions, memories, and people. Dwelling too long on thoughts that pull us to the past has the symptom capability of depression, isolation, bitterness, sadness, fear, and anger. 

Just as we learn from past experiences, we use what we have learned to plan for the future. Therefore, thoughts can push us forward to the future when we think about unpredictable “what-ifs”, schedules, and relationships. Dwelling too long on thoughts that push us to the future has the symptom capability of anxiety, fear, excessive worry, irritability, and stress.

The purpose of therapeutic intervention is to help us connect to the now. We can move away from thoughts that pull us to the past or push us to the future and ground ourselves in the present. One resource that is free, always available, and easily accessible is breathing! Taking a deep breath and noticing how the air moves through your body can be very grounding to the present moment. There are four identifiable steps using breathing to connect to the now.

  1. Intention – Having a purpose behind your actions, like taking a deep breath.
  2. Observe – Noticing the thoughts that pull you to the past or push you to the future are only important for a moment. The thoughts allow you to make informed decisions on how to react. Then, they are no longer needed.
  3. No Judgement – Not punishing yourself for trying something new with good intentions. No matter how small, like breathing.
  4. Repeat – Solidifying new ways of thinking, observing, and responding.

How the Holy Spirit grounds us in the present

Where does the Holy Spirit fit in? What is God’s role in connecting us to the present?

God is always present! The Holy Spirit is always working in the now and connecting us to God! Pastor Jon reminded us to set our minds, our focus, and our thoughts on God. To only allow ourselves to dwell in His goodness. 

God keeps us in the present moment because He wants what is best for us. He knows that we are flawed creatures, tempted by sin, that are easily pulled to dwell in the past or be pushed to dwell on the future worries of man. However, the gift of prayer and worship can be used to connect to the now! Let’s review the four steps using breathing to connect to the now. To connect to God.

  1. Intention – Intentionally and purposefully worshipping or praying. Finding the meaning behind what you are saying, singing, or breathing.
  2. Observe – Notice the “negative” thoughts that keep you from focusing on this present moment with God. Memories of past sin and trials. Or worries about what is to come. Why are these thoughts keeping you from connecting to the now? To God?
  3. No Judgement – Asking God for forgiveness for past sins. Confessing fear about the past or future to God. Jesus died for our sins so that we no longer have to punish ourselves or others forever. Allowing God to ground you in the present moment with Him.
  4. Repeat – Constantly reminding ourselves to set our minds, our focus, and our thoughts on God. Everyday reminding ourselves because we are so easily distracted. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

We have to hold ourselves accountable to constantly and consistently work on ourselves to not dwell on or let our “negative” thoughts pull us to the past or push us to the future. We can remind ourselves that constantly and consistently, the Holy Spirit is always there. Always working in the present. Filling the space. It is on us to notice and work with the gifts God has placed on us and in our lives. Galatians 5:16 says, “I say, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

Take a listen, and start practicing

Try listening to song “Holy Spirit” (link below). Or another praiseful song where you have noticed the Holy Spirit working in you. Or, if worship music is not how you connect to the present moment with God, use prayer, talking with friends, cooking, reading the bible, breathing, etc. Intentionally do something where you have noticed the Holy Spirit working in you. Listen to the instruments. Sing along. Notice what the lyrics are saying. Listen to the noises around you. What thoughts are on your mind? Notice what informaiton they bring, and give the to God.  Listen to your breath. Take notice how your body feels. Light? Heavy? Relaxed? Where is the Holy Spirit working in your life presently? Where do you feel their presence in the space around you? Be present with God.

Please feel free to reach out to my email with any thoughts or questions.

“Holy Spirit” performed by Jesus Culture