Dozens of thoughts crossing my mind this morning. My Spirit has been wonderfully stirred out of complacency this morning. Let’s hope I can do justice to what it is I experienced a few minutes ago.
I often walk my son to school. We live in a semi-rural area of England, where we get the best of both worlds: the closeness to “civilisation” and all the amenities, but also the quietness and absolute beauty of the countryside. This morning is one of those crisp, chilly, bright blue sky September mornings when the last of the summer warmth begins to ebb away, and the chill of the autumn threatens to make its way. Despite the cold air, I have to say I love days like this, when the sharpness in the air just makes you feel grateful to be alive and awakens your senses to the beauty and potential all around you.
During my walk back to the house, having dropped off my son at school, I got to a point in my path where I could either continue walking alongside the main road, or alternatively, I could turn right and go through a gate which leads to a different path away from the busyness and noisy main road and which cuts right across through nature. I never choose the “nature” trail, but always walk parallel to the main road, and in doing so my mind is numbed by the noise of the fast cars driving past and the potent smell of the car fumes. If I am with my children, I tend to take the other path, but I must say that if I am completely on my own, I take the “safe” option and keep to the main road where I know that if anything was to happen to me, there would be more chances of anyone witnessing it or even helping me. In other words, I live in fear. I take the easy option, the one that has no risks but no major thrills either.
This morning I was going about my business, quietly walking back, lost in my mundane thoughts, and when I got to the point where I could choose which path to continue down on, I clearly felt the Lord challenging me to do the very thing which is completely out of my character, and that is walking completely on my own through the wooded area where at that time in the morning you will not find a soul, other than the occasional man/woman walking their dog. I just knew as I got to that point that today was going to be a different day; that a fresh, new message would come from God.
And so it was, as I headed toward the gate which leads to the nature trail, I could immediately feel my spirit lifting up towards the heavens. The openness of the countryside, and the amount of light and colour right in front of me, the much-needed heat of the SUN right on my back, inspired my mind to a higher place where the noise of my daily life was immediately quieten down, where the worries of each day disappeared into oblivion, because the presence of God in his harmonious creation was such that suddenly none of it mattered, nothing but taking it all in before I missed it, as I do most days.
It suddenly dawned on me. I suddenly saw it so clearly, heard it so clearly: “Will you choose to trust me completely, will you choose to live leaning on my Spirit or will you curl up in the security of your sheltered choices, busy busyness, monotonous and unexciting existence? Can you see what you are missing when you live in fear?” And the still small voice continued: “I will not be the one to push you out of the aeroplane so that you can experience the wonders of flying aided by my parachute. I promise you the world, but you have to be the one who chooses to have the faith to step out of that plane and jump into the unknown, into the void, into that tunnel of transition between the secure that you leave behind, and the thrill of what is to come, the promised land where milk and honey abound, where I will be your Lord and you will be completely mine, but at the same time where you will experience a freedom and a blessing which is unequalled to what you perceive as freedom and blessing today.”
The thing is that deep inside I know the Lord is not only asking me to trust Him with regards to my life in general, to cast out all fear into His very able hand, but also to hand over the worry about my spiritual life, to step away from the security of the familiar, the unchallenging, the security of the church environment of which I have been a part of for years, and to actually begin to really trust the Lord for where He is leading me to next. If I am totally honest, I love the majority of the people who are part of the church I attend. I realise some of those people may be reading this right now, but I want to be real to them and to myself. My family members often describe me as a woman of few words. I believe that is a fair description of who I am, although as you can see from this blog I may be a person of few words when it comes to relationships, but there is a lot lying deep behind the surface. Few words I may have, but I like to get them right, and so honesty is paramount in what I say. I don’t hate anybody in the church I am a part of, but I don’t see eye to eye with some of the other members, even those whom I love dearly. I love their heart and their eagerness to be good people and to care for each other (at least during the Sunday service), but right now, in my pursuit of getting to the bottom of what lies in God’s heart for His people, I do not feel led at all to remain in the safety of those four walls, with those familiar faces and familiar rituals of spirituality and religion, very organised religion I must add in many instances. For me, there is no real freedom in that. Just a set of implicit rules that we must all respect and abide by, and a lack of spontaneity and at the same time a lack of reverence for the things of God, a casual approach to the whole thing which just does not meet God’s standards of excellence and His passion and fire for the lost in this world.
Spiritually, continuing within the boundaries of the church I attend, abiding by their vision and expectations of me, plodding along week after week without questioning what it is that I am really contributing to the kingdom as a member of such an entity, is like taking the safe path everyday on my way back home from taking my son to school. It is like saying: “Lord, I have had a taste of what lies ahead for me if I choose to trust you completely, if I choose to make of that wonderful picture you gave me today, a daily invigorating experience, but I will choose to remain in my shelter nonetheless, I will choose the world’s standards, man’s’ limited and flawed definition of who you are and who you have made me to be.
The thing is that I strongly feel this is not just God’s message for me today, but His heartcry to ALL His people, to all those who sing His praises but deny His power and reject His will, by being timid, self-seeking and lukewarm in their approach to who God really is and what He really wants to do in this world through us, in us and in others.