God sightings, Living in Faith, Scripture Lessons, Scripture verses

Slow down, see God, be changed

Busy, busy, busy. That’s how many of us tend to go through our days whether we’re at school, in the workplace, at home, or somewhere else. Even our vacations can sometimes be so full of activities that we feel like we need a vacation once we get home from vacation!

slow down and see God; see God and be changedAs crazy and scary as the past 18 months have been, one benefit for some people has been the realization that life doesn’t always have to be so busy. We saw that we can slow down … take a break … step back a bit … and the world will still keep turning.

What a refreshing reminder for some of us, myself included.

I’m a firm believer that God is all around us in big and small ways every day. After all, Scripture tells us so multiple times. First, we have the obvious example of the creation story in Genesis. A few other references to it include:

  • You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Nehemiah 9:6)
  • Thus says the Lord,the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hand? I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isaiah 45:11-12)
  • For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)

We can forget to notice those daily reminders as we rush through our days. What’s playing on our radio or in our earbuds drowns out the bird’s song. Our morning routine keeps us from noticing the sunrise. We’re checking things on our phone while waiting in a restaurant so miss the smile from the baby at the next table.

I’m not pointing fingers here; I’m just as guilty as anyone else. But I’m trying to do better. Why?

Because when we slow down, we see God.

And when we see God, we can’t help but be changed.

After all, how can we not be changed and be in complete awe of God once we see Him for ourselves?

That’s the kind of change I want to have in my life. But how do we do make it happen?

The best way I’ve found is to ask God to open my eyes and ears so that I’ll see or hear Him around me that day. When I do this, it’s amazing how many ways I notice Him. It’s as if He’s just waiting for the opportunity to show off. 😊

I also try to write down some of the things I see or experience. Then on those days when I’m struggling or questioning or doubting, I can look back and see how many ways God has reminded me of His presence.

Sometimes I see Him in big, obvious ways like the pillars of cloud and fire that God used to guide the Israelites while they were in the desert (Exodus 13:21-22). Other times it’s in subtle ways that are easy to overlook, like when God spoke to Elijah in the still, small whisper instead of the earthquake or fire (1 Kings 19:9-13).

Either way, it’s God. He’s in the biggest of the big and the smallest of the small because He created it all. He wants — and deserves — our praise for every bit of it, from the tallest mountain or most complex creation to the everyday things in life that feel inconsequential.

As Christians, we’re told to continually praise God. Learning to slow down so we can see Him in everything around us is one way to do that, one way to keep Him as an important part of our day.

It doesn’t become habit overnight and there are plenty of days when I don’t focus on it as well as I could. The world still clatters all around me, pulling my attention in too many directions. But I keep trying and hope you do, too.

We’re all works in progress, no matter how old we are or how long we’ve been following God. How do you set the world aside long enough to see God in your everyday life? Have you found a way to keep track of those moments so you don’t forget them?

Leave a comment to share what you’ve learned and help someone else in their journey. We can all use help along the way.

Be blessed, friends!


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God sightings, Scripture verses, What I've Learned Lately

Stepping (or floating) away from the rest of the world

getting away from the rest of the world

When was the last time you got away from the world for a while, just stepped away and enjoyed the peace and quiet without checking your phone every few minutes?

My husband and I spent several hours Sunday afternoon doing something we haven’t done together in years: fishing. And when I say years, I mean I can’t remember fishing together since before we were married (and we celebrated #31 in April!).

He’s gone with friends and has taken our kids over the years and has even fished in creeks or the surf when we’ve gone places. But just the two of us in a boat together? Not since our dating days.

Our church is currently sharing a pastor with another congregation, which means our service is over by 10 a.m. Afterwards, I picked up lunch while my husband got the boat ready and we headed to one of the local reservoirs.

It was a gorgeous afternoon, sunny and calm with a sky so blue it looked Photo Shopped. We heard lots of frogs on the bank and I could count on one hand the number of other boats we saw or cars we heard.

Lovely time away from all the other “things” — absolutely lovely.

Lots of things have changed for us as we’ve adjusted to life as empty nesters in the past year. Our schedules have shifted and we’re finding ways to fill the hours (nights, weekends) that used to be focused on the kids and their things (not that we ever regret those days — it’s what makes parenting parenting). It’s nice to find new things to do together or get back to some things we enjoyed years ago.

Stepping away from the rest of the world and its busyness can be tough to do, but it’s vital for us physically, mentally and spiritually. We need time away by ourselves and time away with those closest to us.

Jesus got away – so we can, too.

After all, if Jesus could take time away from the world in the midst of His ministry, who am I to think I don’t need a break myself? Sometimes Jesus got away by Himself (such as in Matthew 12:22-23, Mark 1:35) and sometimes He took a few of His closest disciples with Him (such as in Mark 14:32-42).

In both situations, Jesus set the example and sent an important message: it’s okay to step away from the world to relax and recharge. No guilt necessary. 😊

I think it’s also important to pay attention to when Jesus carved out these getaway times. They often were after something monumental had happened, when He needed focused prayer time, or when He was on the brink of a decision or change.

Sound familiar? Those are the times when I need to step away, too – and maybe the same is true for you.

When you realize that time is needed, how do you recharge? Sometimes I go somewhere by myself, such as the Monastery of the Holy Spirit that’s not too far from our home. Other times it’s nice to go with someone. I’m glad I said “yes” to fishing on Sunday and “no” to the other things I could have done. Because guess what? Those other things still got done later.

Plus, I started the week in a better frame of mind after getting away for a while. I hope you make time to step away from the busyness in your world this week, too. What will you try?

 

Dear Lord, our days are so full of things to do, things to plan, things that fill our minds and keep us busy, busy, busy. Help us slow down. Help us step away to rejuvenate ourselves and to reconnect with You and the people we love. Because when we slow down, we’ll see You. When we see You, we’ll be changed. And that’s what we want. Amen.


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