I was reading in the (In)courage devotional Bible just now, and I read a reading entitled “This is Church” (it goes with Psalm 150:6 if you have that Bible and want to see it). It was talking about church as a “house of worship” and finding that place of worship in nature.
I’m not necessarily a nature girl. I much prefer air conditioning, or this time of year heating. I do much enjoy flushing things away and taking showers. Bugs and I are not friends. But if you remember toward the end of last year, when I needed a break, where did I go? To the lake. To nature. I sat outside for hours, and I found joy and peace at the lake, in nature.
I get it. It’s peaceful. It’s beautiful. When you really need to be alone, nature is the place to do it. If it wasn’t so cold, I’d go find some nature right now. My soul is tired. I need a break. I need real rest, the kind I won’t find in my warm bed, though I’m definitely willing to look there right now.
I went to a funeral today, and many people talked about his love of the rivers and lakes, fishing and cabins. I think this man, who served God with his whole heart for his whole life, probably found church out there too. My dad also liked the outdoors; who knows if it was for similar reasons. The calm, the quiet, the beauty of creation, those things even suck me in from time to time (as long as air conditioning and plumbing is still available).
It’s been tough lately to find a pause, a Selah time, like I talked about in my last blog post. I’ve been constantly on the move. Many of those things were good things, vital and necessary, but the constant movement has left my body and my soul tired. The constant demands from all corners of my life have left me raw and have left some of my responses lately to leave something to be desired. (If you’ve been the recipient of that lately, I have already apologize privately to you, but I’d like to reiterate that here, publicly. I’m working on it.)
Despite the turmoil of this world and the problems that seem unsolvable, God’s presence is still with us. His grace is still at work to draw us near and to let us hear and know and see the Almighty One. I believe that, but I sometimes forget. (Rachel Ann Ridge)
It seems as trial after trial hit and peace is hard to come-by, we lose sight of the peace that comes from just resting in God, from sitting in His presence. Sometimes it’s necessary to find rest by simply saying, God, you know I’m not a hugger, but I need you to hold me for a minute (or maybe that’s just me). It reminds of the song Rebel Heart (Lauren Daigle): Hold me ’til my best defenses fall/and watch this Rebel heart surrender all.
That’s where I need to go. I need a break to just sit and be, no agenda, no one thing demanding attention. Just a pause to reset my soul, to remember where I am and where I’m going. To quiet my wandering spirit. To silence the too loud voices of the enemy. To remember that in all the hard, in all the trials, there are still good things and oh so many good things. To be reminded that God’s goodness is NOT based on my circumstances.
This weekend is my turn to share my story with my people. I’m think I mentioned that last week. There’s been a lot of introspection and reconciling with a story I’m not necessarily always proud of. I can’t be mad at anyone over the idea to do it since it was partly mine. But it’s been tougher than I thought. I think I know the story I’m meant to tell now, though.
I say that to say Thursday afternoon, I am taking a pause. I hesitate to put that out there because I know that opens it up for derailment. But my resolve is strong. I will sit alone, attempt to repair my universe with the help of my God. I will breathe and pause and be, even if only for a little while. And when I’m done, I hope I will be ready to tell the story I’m meant to tell no matter how I feel about it, to do the next right thing and the next after that.
I hope to re-emerge recentered and ready to take on this crazy world and whatever the next challenge is. I hope that statement in itself is not a challenge because believe me when I say, if God chooses to give me a break in the challenges department, I will gladly and willingly accept that break. So for now, while I know my church when referring to my people, I set forth to find my church, my “house of worship” outside the conventional church. My place to Selah for this week.