Two weekends ago I attended a women’s retreat with our church. I still don’t know very many people, so the thought of spending a weekend with 40+ women packed into a beach house was a little bit daunting for this introvert. But I knew it would be worth it and I was looking forward to making some new friendships, learning from our speaker, and having a respite from my everyday life.
And then I found out I had to carpool with a couple of people I didn’t know. Even more unnerving.
My fears about the car ride quickly subsided when we began deep conversation just a few minutes into our time together. During the almost hour that it took us to arrive at the retreat I felt like I had connected with people over discussions about marriage, parenting dilemmas, and other life issues that we were all facing. It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with fellow believers in Christ.
We walked into the beach home where the main session for that evening was taking place and it was L O U D. The women were mingling and eating dessert and there were almost 50 of them in one room. To say it was overwhelming was a bit of an understatement. I tucked away in a corner to put my purse down and then found a spot standing in the back of the room where I could lean on the kitchen counter and nibble on M&M’s while we took turns introducing ourselves.
Once the official meet and greet was over, two of the ladies who had ridden in the car with me and I decided to go and sit on the beach. It was a beautiful night, uncharacteristically warm for November, and we knew the beach would be quiet.
We walked onto the sand, sat down, and just sat there in silence. It was a perfectly clear night with no street lights to obstruct our view and when I looked up into the sky I saw thousands of stars. You could hear the waves crashing on the beach and the stillness was beautiful.
But in my spirit I was wrestling. Should I strike up conversation with these ladies? Is this awkward? Do they want to talk? Or are each of us enjoying this peaceful evening?
My body was still but my mind was running a million miles a minute. It was as if my soul didn’t know how to just be.
And then, I saw a shooting star. And another, and another. Six shooting stars during the time we were sitting on the beach.
It had been years since I had seen a shooting star. In all of those years had there been a lack of shooting stars in the sky? Of course not. But I hadn’t taken the time to sit out under a darkened sky and simply gaze at the wonder of the Universe. I hadn’t practiced the art of stillness in nature in a very long time.
What have I missed because I haven’t been still before the Lord?
Just like shooting stars that probably fall from the sky every night, God is always present. He is always working. He is constantly stirring things in my heart, desiring to shape me and mold me into His image. He longs for me to be in communion with Him, listening for His voice and walking in obedience to Him.
But I daily fail to practice stillness before Him. And when I fail to sit in His presence I fail to know Him as I should.
So, today, on this very ordinary Tuesday, I want to stop. I want to sit for scheduled periods of time to pray and listen and allow His Word to penetrate my heart. I want to pause in the midst of my housework and ask the Lord to give me a servant’s heart. I want to be so in tune with the fact that Jesus is with me in each moment, that while I’m driving around town, helping my kids with their homework, fixing dinner, or greeting my husband when he comes home from work, I’m actively being still in my spirit to listen to the voice of the Lord and what He wants from me in those moments.
Maybe He just wants me to enjoy Him. To delight in His presence with me.
Maybe He wants me to change my attitude and I just need to be sensitive to His conviction in that moment.
Maybe He wants to prompt me to speak truth to a friend or neighbor and I just need to be willing and open to His leading in that way.
I don’t know what He has for me today. But I do know that He has given me Himself. To walk with me through each moment of every day. And I can know Him in every moment when I recognize Him by being still in my spirit and taking the time to gaze on Him as my God.
Let’s be mindful today to sit still if we need to and revel in God’s presence. And while we’re going about our tasks, whatever they may be, let’s be quick to keep our souls still, listening for God’s voice, recognizing His presence with us, and not missing out on what He wants to show us, teach us, or how He may be guiding us.