We were driving to church for an evening event, and the sun wasn’t just making a short appearance, it had been peering down on us all day, throwing us waves of heat. And although the tree’s had burst with perfect pink flowers, it didn’t feel like Spring, but more like mid-summer. My husband and I chatted about the unprecedented weather and the beauty of our view. He looked at me and said, “there is just one problem with this picture”. “And whats that” I said. “I don’t see any kids in tree’s.” “Look at all these tree’s…there’s not one kid in them.”
I chuckled. But he was right.
Growing up there were many big tree’s in my front yard. I remember one in particular fit my fancy and all by myself I nailed wood blocks to the trunk in order to give the boost needed for me to reach the lowest branch. I would climb as far as my budding fear of heights would allow me and then I would just sit up there.
Above the world…thinking.
Funny how without trying as a child I found places and time for solitude. Time to just…be. Now as an adult I long for places and times of solitude, yet when I get the opportunity I’d rather not just…be.
I’d rather…do. Do a project. Do some reading. Do some errands. Fill the time. Because being left with my own thoughts is a lot like being left alone with a crazy person. Regularly I feel all manner of things, because that is what God has placed in my lap. All different flavors of joy, trial, blessing and frustrations.
Side note – I bet you thought from the beginning of this post I was going to bemoan modern technology and how it is ripping kid’s from tree’s. Am I right?
Although those are legitimate concerns, I am more interested in writing about how our Christian culture, both children and adults alike, struggle with the concept of solitude and silence. I’m not talking about brainless rest. We do that well. I’m talking about intentional and thoughtful stillness.
I can hear the joint complaint of the busy mom on this one. I know, I know kid’s make this practice very difficult. But most of us, although it may not be regular, but most of us have been given gifts of “freedom” from our husbands. Even if it’s to lock ourselves in our bedrooms for time alone (am I the only one?), or to get out with a friend or to run an errand. And many of us have no excuse about how we spend our time after the kids go to bed.
We all struggle to use that “down” time for solitude and not distract ourselves with other things. I fight myself.
TV’s off, iPhone put away, books down, broom in the closet.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul…” ~ Psalm 23:1-3
How might we expect the Lord to restore our souls? And how many of us could really use that restoration?
Do we see the Lord as our good shepherd? This picture is placing us as His sheep. It’s a metaphor for how the Lord cares for us. Like a shepherd brings its sheep to a meadow or field to rest, then leads the sheep to a creek in order that the sheep may quench his thirst. The Lord guides us in order that our soul’s thirst would be satisfied. And He does so by bringing us to places of stillness and quiet.
If we truly desire to have restoration of our soul, we would not want, as the verse above says. We would not want our phone, the TV show, the project or that video game above our good Shepherds leading us to solitude.
Stillness is the only way to let the Lord minister to the deepest part of ourselves. It is a difficult thing to practice in our culture of busyness and distraction. But it is necessary to having a true relationship with our Creator.
God is in the tree’s. And the green pastures. And still waters.
Look for Him there.