Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rest & Retreat

Last year, I was so blessed to get to spend some time away and seek rest at my friend Rebecca's local Rest & Retreat.  I went unaware of the struggles and hurt I was carrying when we started, but very early, I figured it out and was able to pinpoint the emotions that were holding me back from resting with God.

This year, while I knew my dad's passing was the largest piece of what I was carrying, being able to nail down those emotions was much more challenging.  I wanted to be able to lay down my feelings like I had before: to yell at God or cry on God or pour out my questions to Him.  But without being able to even say what my emotions were, I didn't know how to seek God in order to hit the reset and find rest.

I learned in college that I find God's voice most easily in nature.  I hear Him in the wind and the birds and the trees.  I see Him in the land and the flowers and the animals.  I typically find rest while I quiet my soul there.  This walk, however, was different; I felt numb.  And everywhere I looked, I was reminded.  I felt dry and cracked.  Buried and hollow.  Broken and empty and rough.

I so desperately came to this time with a plan of how I thought God should speak to me.  I wanted Him to give me compassion and love and comfort to heal my broken heart.  I needed Him to help me feel His presence and hear His voice.  But by bringing in my ways of what I thought God should tell me or how He should care for me, I wasn't really seeking Him at all.  I was looking for things the way I wanted them.  Perhaps you can relate.

As I walked, I felt clearly God was telling me to stop using my voice for His and to adjust my focus.  Not to look so far away, and instead look closer in.  To allow His voice to come how, when, and where He wanted it to.  I smiled as I began to see the places that He was hiding right under foot and the ways that His voice was beckoning me to look closer.  If only shifting my mind was as easy as shifting the focus on my camera.

In my hurt and heartache, I was drowning out God's voice with the noise and rush of the world around me; I was even drowning out His voice with my own voice.  I was believing that what people did or said or what I believed mattered more than what God would do and tell me in His time.

So I changed my speed to allow God more room.  He reminded me that His voice is softer than the noise of the world - even sometimes than the noise of good people.  It does not come and go on my command, nor does it typically tell me what I expect to hear.  It does, however, remind me of the things I know to be true about God through the Bible.  It reminds me that His ways are not my ways and His timing is not my timing, but they are good and He loves me so deeply.

I don't believe it is easy to step into faith when the noise of the world is telling us to pick up the pace and take control of it all.  In fact, I know it is NOT easy.  But I pray, as you walk your journey that is difficult and full of emotions you may not be able to pinpoint and leaves you feeling numb, you'll try.  Turning to a God you may or may not know can feel strange and pointless, but it may be just the thing that softly comes in and quiets the noise of the world to help you find the rest and peace you need.

Until next time,