A few days ago, I made a commitment to get away from everything and everyone to seek a soul revamp. I heard about some fun trails about a fifteen minute drive from my hometown that I had never been to before so I headed that way. Eighty degrees, crisp sky blue, lush green and that distinct summer aroma in the air made for a perfect opportunity to pursue the Lord’s presence and stillness.
If you know me, you know that I don’t really enjoy being alone; And if you ask me how life is going, I don’t tend to unravel my intimacy with the heavenly Father. By default, I ramble about what God could be preparing me for and about the next steps he may have. That is not unhealthy in it of itself, of course we should seek our Lord’s Spirit for guidance and obedience. However, if our relationship scales down to seeing him simply as a God of directions instead of the God of our souls, then we have serious issue to work through.
So here I am 1) alone, and 2) fumbling through attempting to pray intimately. At first, I experienced heavy difficulty trying to get my mind and soul quiet. I wanted so badly to ask God what’s next in life and what I need to do to make sure I was a world-changer as well as my wife. As I said before, I’m always looking ahead and asking what’s next, so my life is always lacking a good pause. My mind frantically searches for the most efficient and impressive way to do life. Creative ideas and plans are in a constant spin cycle in my head and I desire God to just affirm one and provide the finances and faith to go and accomplish it — So I can experience a fulfilling purpose, and so I can just hit the off button on that cycle. I often feel like a disciple in the boat in John 6, headed to destination Capernaum when it is dark and the sea is rough due to strong winds. Jesus comes walking on the water and says, “It is I; do not be afraid.” I gladly take him into the boat but I still don’t know how to get to where I am going. I feel like I have a good destination in mind, but it is still choppy and cloudy around my thought and prayer life.
The funny thing about the disciples in the boat and I is we know our God can do anything (he just walked on water!) yet the what’s next question is still at the forefront of our minds more than the presence of the Creator of the universe who has come to be with us.
It took me an entire hour to just chill and enjoy God’s creation as well as his voice. Standing at a hilltop overlook, among the trees elevated by God himself towering before me, his Spirit spoke gently. The impression communicated “Stop seeing me as just a compass in our relationship. Enjoy my presence. Be near today, that is all. You don’t need to process everything today.”
That was all I needed and it was so relieving. The spin cycle slowed and again I realized that being near to God is of infinite value compared to what I do with my life. I’m the only one putting myself in that boat of confusion when God is the destination. “Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going” (Jn, 6:21). There is no true purpose or destination until we are with God and he is taking us on the hike with him.