And just like that, May has come and is almost gone. Do you remember five months ago when we all rang in 2020 with such hope, excitement, and expectancy? Then, fast forward to a couple of months in and the world decided to throw all of that hope, excitement, and expectancy out the window.
All of the “theys” out there have tried their hardest to put a positive spin on this unprecedented time in all of our lives. Create. Rest. Connect. Produce. Build. And I’ve tried, but I don’t think my trying has produced the kind of fruit I was envisioning.
Thankfully, I have had a bit of normalcy during this season. I am considered essential and so I have gone into work as usual. My church was given permission by our sheriff’s office to have small prayer gatherings that included social distancing, and I go for a walk everyday, soaking up all the fresh air and Vitamin D.
I have added Zoom call after Zoom call after online Bible Studies after worship services. I have also been full on in acquiring two life coaching certifications since January. I’ve actually stayed quite busy. That’s how I like it. I am a doer by nature, and I don’t do well with stillness, idleness, or extended alone time despite being quite a bit of an introvert.
The one thing this pandemic has showed me is that my capacity for quiet and the secret place was a bit lacking. The fruit of that has definitely played out in me not sleeping well for the past couple of months and some anxiety.
I would say that I haven’t been fearful of contracting the virus, but fear about other areas has come up in other ways. Evading fear, for me, has looked like work and numbing out. I can’t tell you how many shows I have binge-watched or how many trails of toxic thoughts I have entertained or how much time I’ve spent intentionally trying not to be alone. And on top of all of that, a really close friend is moving soon.
I’ve discovered through my coaching classes that I tend to avoid hard emotions by disconnecting from my heart and pretending those emotions don’t exist. The easiest way for me to do that is by not creating space for me to be still and alone with God.
One of my friends shared Song of Solomon 2:10-13 on Facebook recently, and it stopped me in my tracks. It was almost as if I could literally hear the voice of the Lord whispering into my ear. This is His desire for me and for you in this season while many of us have few to no other choices to fill up our time:
My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!”
Growing up as a child with both parents pretty much out of the picture, I never quite felt loved. When I became a Christian at nineteen, my head grabbed a hold of the truth that God loved me, but my heart hasn’t always held onto it as easily.
He has been gently reminding me that whether or not I feel loved, I am loved. I am loved because God is love, and I am made in His image. His very breath sustains my life. I was created out of His love to be loved by Him. Love is the language that He freely speaks over me and over you. We don’t have to be something we’re not. We don’t have to strive for His approval. We can rest in our identity being found in His love alone.
In these verses, Solomon bids his love to come away with him several times. He invites her into a secret place to see her face and hear her voice. He loves her and wants nothing more than to be with her. His beloved wants the same things. She is eager to be alone with him. She is eager to know him and be known by him.
Often times, I run away from this kind of intimacy with the Lord. I fear truly being known by the One who created me. I fear judgment or punishment or simply the realities of my sin. I allow shame to pull me away instead of allowing His kindness to lead me into repentance.
God wants nothing more than to commune with us, to have intimacy with us. He wants to speak truth to our hearts and hope to our souls. His love leads to pruning and growth. It leads to us conforming to His image. As we spend time with Him, His desires become our desires. We die to our flesh and become alive in Him. That is the mighty and undeniable work of His Spirit that comes out of stillness.
In my neck of the woods, life is slowly coming back, but there is still much opportunity for quiet and reflection. My prayer is that I will come out of this “pause” in my normal activity better than I went into it. I want to repent more quickly than I used to. I want stillness to be my new normal. I want my heart to know that I am beloved no matter what.
If you have found yourself struggling during this time to quiet your mind,
please share in the comments below — I’d love to pray for you!
Love is the language that God freely speaks over me and over you. -@karina268: Click To Tweet