Usually, when on vacation, I’m guilty of over-scheduling and overdoing. “Let’s make the most out of our trip!”, I rationalize. Our schedule is full before we even leave the driveway. We run around to see family and friends and all the sights along the way, and end up needing a vacation to recover from our “vacation”. It’s my husband’s pet peeve!
This time, though, it was different. We were coming off of a busy school year, a heavy load of projects, work-related travel, and a slew of paperwork and interviews for the adoption. I was exhausted and emotionally spent. A typical “vacation” back home could have easily pushed me over the edge. Thankfully, I have a sister who knows me very well.
My sister, Kate, is one of my greatest blessings. She has a meek and generous heart which loves exponentially and always seems to know what I need before I do. She and her family graciously hosted us during our stay. She knew exactly where I was coming from and gave me permission to do absolutely nothing. I simply nestled into an Adirondack chair on their patio and soaked in the blessings of my life.
Slowing down during our first few days was a tremendous gift. My body was getting the rest I needed, while my mind was being restored and reassured of my purpose. Friends stopped in to visit and share life’s joys and sorrows. God’s word was opened and poured in to my heart with a velocity and conviction that I’ll never forget.
Through every conversation and devotion, I was bombarded by messages of love and truth. I was reminded of the love that we receive from The Creator. A love that I receive out of grace, not from anything I have done or earned. God has brought me to this point in my life, not by my own strength, will, or work. I’m here because of what He’s done for me because He has a plan for me - just like He has a plan for you.
Looking back, I now realize that the hurried sounds of home had deafened me to God’s providence. I wasn’t living an abundant life; I was actually being distracted by life. In the stillness, I was reminded that God wants me not only to act justly, but to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. The hectic pace of daily life dilutes and drowns that message. It broke my heart to realize that I have vainly missed out on connecting and communicating with my Creator in order to catch up on household chores, emails, or sleep. I was certain that I must be intentional about giving God my undivided attention and time.
Since returning home, I’ve had to be deliberate about finding quiet times to slow down and listen. Setting the alarm during the summer is one way I secure quiet time before the kiddos wake up. It’s a treasured part of the day- just me, The Word, my coffee, and my journal. This precious time often reveals a message or a challenge that I’m left to digest and incorporate throughout the day. Please don’t assume this time is always warm and fuzzy. Most times, it’s downright convicting. My motives are being checked and my insecurities being faced. I’m held accountable for the daily choices I make and find that I can no longer look the other way or settle for less.
It’s a one day at a time life and I’m okay with that. After all, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Today, I am assured that God is in control. He is God. I am NOT. Today, in the quiet, I’ll continue to listen, pray, and find the courage to act in obedience. Today, I’ll limit my time online, and spend more time reaching out to others personally. Today, I’ll turn talk about helping others into action. Today, I’ll set down my phone, close my laptop, and disconnect with the outside world to meaningfully connect face to face and heart to heart with my kids. Today, I’ll slow down to take in all the blessings and wonder that surround me.
Wow. When I slow down and listen during the quiet time, I hear volumes of promises, hope, and direction. I never want miss out again.
Be still and know that I AM God. ~Psalm 46:10