My word for 2016 is with. Slowing down, delighting in, enjoying Immanuel . . . God WITH us. After all, this is the purpose of the Christian life, right? Not just serving God or talking about God, but actually being with God, abiding in Him.
Though this year has been completely different from what I had imagined, it has been exactly what I needed. For that, I thank God. I thank our Father for giving me what I need, not what I thought I wanted. That’s easy to say when what He’s given me is margin, peace, quiet, slow, friends around my table, and rest. Thank you for giving me what I needed.
But what about the other stuff? The hard stuff? The unknown? The doubt? The waiting?
Is God enough for all of that? All of those unfulfilled wants and desires; can I be content where He has me right now, today, with nothing more and nothing less? Can I be content without having it all figured out or knowing what’s next, what’s ahead?
Many of us want our lives to be all figured out before we move forward. But the way of Jesus is not figure it all out, then go, it’s . . . Come, follow me. Following Jesus into the busy times of ministry and pouring out, following Jesus to the green pastures and still waters to be refreshed and replenished, and following Jesus into the wilderness, humbled to hunger, to depend on the Spirit, in the unknown and parched land, just to know Him more. Following where He leads, when He leads.
It seems as summer is approaching, I know my time of sitting beside still waters is coming to an end. I’m refreshed, I’m strengthened, I’m filled up. I hear Him beckoning me to the wilderness. Back to doctor’s appointments, back to high hopes and unknown futures, back to unknown, desperate, dry, barren land.
My initial step is to start running toward Him because I want to be WITH Him. But I’m stuck trying to figure it out. Why there? What will we do? For how long? What’s waiting on the other side? What if it’s too hard? Too lonely?
He invites me to follow, not with the map full of directions and every stop on the journey, but with the invitation to know Him. He invites me to get away, get quieter and go deeper still, to be with Him. What more of an invitation do I need?
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
I’ve been living the first part of this lovely verse up to this point in 2016. Now as we go back into the wilderness, He is reminding me of the second half: I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Even in the wilderness, if I keep company with Him, I’ll live freely and lightly.
In trying to keep company with Him, I know I need to get even quieter. So for the month of May, I’m taking a little break/sabbatical/fast from social media. As much as possible, pulling away from posts, comments, likes, and constant intake of everyone and everything. It’s too noisy for me right now. 31 days of quiet and Lord willing, the voice of the Lord amplified in my life.