I can be very hard headed about some things. Ask my husband.
Running is a good example. Once I start a run, I don’t stop until I’ve reached my goal, even if my feet or knees tell me I should.
A few days ago, however, I couldn’t keep from stopping.
One tall tree on the far side of the road was ablaze with color. The early morning sun turned the leaves to gold and burnished bronze. I stared at it for a moment, but the stare was not enough. I crossed the road, climbed up the bank and worked my way under the branches. They arched over and around me. The finest cathedral, made by the hands of man, could not have been more beautiful.
Leaves floated softly to the ground, making a gilded path for my eyes to follow. I was surrounded completely by glowing color. It was easy for my heart to leap from the wonder of the leaves to the wonder of He who created them. My hands lifted to praise Him.
In that moment, I felt stresses and frustrations snap away. Major storms had not recently plagued me, but many small ones had: tiredness, low energy, to-do lists too long, never enough time to write, people I love going through stresses and heartache, girl drama, dog drama, daily frustrations, every-day failures, the list could go on. I’m sure you have your own list, as well.
My hands stayed up until all my stresses came down.
As I made my way back to the road and finished my run, the golden moment lingered and helped me see with a different light. Big storms can make big chains that topple us and drag us off course, but many small chains often do the same. In some regard, they are more dangerous. Ferocious storms strike us dramatically, causing great fear which makes us run to the Father. Small ones, that come as ordinary stresses and frustrations, land on us with less velocity, making us feel as if we can manage them ourselves; the mind-set satan wants us to have.
He wants frustrated, tired, annoyed and stressed out people. I admit I’ve fallen headfirst into his trap, tangled up by Lilliputian chains. God orchestrated my cathedral moment beneath the tree because He knew something I needed to be reminded of. Praising Him breaks the chains. Satan cannot stand in the presence of real worship.
That morning was also a reminder that the world is not our home, no matter how much we try to make it be. My quest for life to be smooth and unrealistically trouble free creates frustration. I should instead look at the glitches with different eyes: ones that seek Him in even the smallest of things, ones that consistently see beauty and goodness even in the mess, ones that are willing to see that it’s ok for me to rest and take time for things (like writing) that nurture me and satisfy my spirit.
As believers, we have a perfect place in eternity to look forward to, filled with unending golden moments. This truth, if gripped tightly, can give us joy in the chaos; and, while we’re here; in this beautiful but often crazy life, we have a Savior willing and able to give us rest, and teach us as we stumble.
I’m challenging myself to look for moments to praise and rejoice in Him, to thank Him, to focus on His face, and to allow myself time to use the gifts He’s given me. I hope you will challenge yourself to do this as well, and I pray that God will bring you your own cathedral moments.
Hey, Vicky, this one is for you. Thanks for your prayers.
Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”