I don’t need your presents,

just your presence.

I said these words on my birthday. They were to comfort a friend, who told me her gift would be coming later.

Everyone laughed. Or maybe there were a lot of was and smiles.

I can’t remember everything exactly. I wanted that to be the truth though.

In a way, it was. I was grateful for the people standing/sitting around that table with me. My mom, brother, sister, even my bestie for the restie who drove an hour to celebrate with me.

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My heart was still in a state of wanting. At the time, I thought, “God, I’m so overwhelmed. I don’t want to open this card, or finish this cake. I just want to stay in the moment with these people. Please.”

If you’ve read my poetry, you know I have tough time letting things go. Letting them be. When I’m given something, taken somewhere, or around someone, I never want to fully engage.

I’m afraid they will leave. Seriously, when I get a book or letters in the mail, I keep them in the package awhile instead of ripping the package open.

“But Julia, that is crazy. Don’t you want what they took time to send?”

Of course I do. Half the time, I don’t know how to enjoy things, so I put it off. Or, I do enjoy something, like my birthday, and long for stay.

In Emily’s new book, Simply Tuesday, she says, “Presence is what we all need to feel secure.” Presence for me has always been a book, a person, or a cat. I’ve never thought about it in terms of God’s presence.

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I don’t want this be taken like I idolize either of these. Because if you want to know another truth, I’m afraid to get close to people for this reason. I’m afraid I already do.. Which is why I sometimes feel like God has me in long-distance friendships. Because he and I both know I get all, Oh, I have to talk to them!! Their light is so pretty!! We need to besties!

Every time I catch myself, God pulls me away. I won’t tell Him I’m doing it, either. Well, that is til I’m crying, Why do I feel so alone, God?!

You aren’t spending time with Me.

He’s the only presence that will make me feel secure. Not the unread (or half read) books. Not the people in my life. Far away. Yes, they may have God’s light inside them, but they aren’t Him.

Writing this shows me I place my hope so far away from Jesus. I’m crying right now typing this,. It could be because it’s easier to see the temporary when so much of my has felt as if I’m waiting to be punished.

I know my guilt. I know the way I buy books, swearing I’ll read them, but I don’t. I know how I hear of a new Starbucks drink and can get one that day, when I know it can be better spent on groceries.

Books and Starbucks drinks are held until they are gone. They aren’t Him.

No matter how many times I turn away from His presence, He turns toward me.

And maybe I saw this on my birthday. Despite the hesitation to receive, He still gave His attention to me. He still gave His word to me:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Eph 2:10 NASB)

I want to walk in these good works. I want to receive them, knowing he secures me in his love. His presence.

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3 thoughts on “I don’t need your presents,

  1. Books and Starbucks -my favorite ways to celebrate when I’m happy and lift me when I’m not (much of the time)😉 love that you wrote this — the guilt and shame I struggle with about what I do and what I’m instead doing and not doing, what I deserve or need to accept, knowing it’s not my worth– all hard places to navigate – I hope for your birthday you had books to surround you and look at (because it’s the thinking about reading and opening and the expectation is almost the best) and all the Starbucks concoctions you could imbibe☕️❤😊

    • I love you, Hollie. ❤️ I love that you get me, get the struggle. I think I really needed to read this again today. Even if it made me teary that I still struggle with it. I haven’t caved on buying books or Starbucks (okay yes for this I think) to make sadness go away, but I had a book on a birthday and working on trying (very very hard) to read what I have in front of me. Audio books sound so good right now, especially this one. But maybe after I finish this one book bc I’m close to finish. Please go have some Starbucks for me, soul sister 💕☺️

      • I did! I did! For the first time in two weeks i got to get to a Starbucks-and I’m going to go read now–ps my amazon list of books is ridiculous!=) if it brings love, fills us with joy, promotes peace…it is all good…and there is precious little of good in this world, some days it feels less than others. Thank you for letting your light shine…what we love and share with passion makes that flame grow brighter!!

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