I am home now from ten days in the mountains. After ten years without going anywhere, it was a much-needed getaway...even if I was working most of the time.
As I put the miles behind me headed south a week ago last Friday, I could feel so much releasing within me. So much pouring out of me. Years of burden. Years of struggle. Years of heavy weight that I'd been carrying around. This trip was a chance to break free from so much of that. And truth? I was able to.
But it wasn't all pleasure.
Every day, I woke up and looked out into the mist, popped open my Bible, and started reading, just as I would any morning at home. Devotion comes first. And normally, I am inspired by the Word of God. He and I just connect. We connect as I'm reading. Several times throughout the day, He pops into my head. Many moments, He sneaks in and grabs my heart. I kind of live inspired.
In the mountains, not so much. I only made notes on maybe two sentences in all my Bible in ten days. I didn't have a lot of mercy moments. Other than the really cool matters of creation - the thunderstorm over the lake, the rainbow, the mist, the mountains - I wasn't connecting with God in the same way that I have come to know, to treasure, around here. It was kind of disappointing.
Down there, I had these moments where I was everything I thought I had ever wanted to be. Relaxed. Sociable. Pleasant. Hard-working, but not uptight about it. Unconstrained. There was no sense of time. I mentioned it on Twitter and maybe Facebook - there was a clock where I was staying, and the clock's only job was to show the day of the week. It was so easy to lose track...because I just sort of took the days as they came. I didn't hurt. I didn't fear. I didn't tremble. I looked in the mirror and saw the girl I had always dreamed of - inwardly and outwardly.
But this one gnawing thing was missing: heart.
I wasn't a woman after God's heart. Don't get me wrong - I was living and loving, working and serving, doing and being and praying that in all of that, God would continue to use the time to free me from so many things and to create in me the woman I yearned for. He did, and I have to be honest, I completely failed to notice. I forgot to remember His role in things. I forgot to honor Him for doing in me; it was too easy to just grab onto what He was doing. It got to be midweek, and I wondered where my inspiration was. I wondered where this whisper in my heart had gone, this companion and voice I have grown so accustomed to hearing. I could almost feel my life shallowing out, my depths fading. Because I was content for a few days to trade the God who has wanted to be all for me for a chance to experience all I had ever wanted. Or thought I'd wanted. Or...I don't know.
I'm not saying it's bad to have your moment. I'm not saying it's bad to be the woman God created in me, the one I've longed to be in touch with. It was absolutely cool. But if I'm going to be that woman, I have to be more diligent about connecting with God in that place, too. I have to be more concerned with getting my heart straight so that I find that relationship that I so treasure even in the fine times.
It's easy to be God's when we need Him. When life bears down on us and we have all this fight and all this burden and all this trouble that only God can mitigate for us. That only God can help us carry. That only God can carry us through. In an unburdened moment, can we also find God? How are you His when you don't really need Him as desperately as life sometimes demands? How are you His when you only want Him?
He's not a different God in those times; you are only a different you. You have to learn - I have to learn - to bring yourself before God however you are: burdened, unburdened, worried, wondered, frozen, free. You have to make God a priority and carve out the place where only He speaks to you...before the good things get so loud that you can't hear any more.
God still wants to be all for you even when you think you're all you ever wanted to be. He is still all, and He is still more. It doesn't have to be a trade-off; never settle. Live unburdened - man, it is an incredible way to live and to breathe - but burden yourself for the fullness of God. You need that, too.
I need that, too.