“Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver
It is 1:02 AM on a Saturday morning. Most people have gone home for the weekend, including my roommate, which is how I ended up here. Hidden beneath the exterior of an IKEA box, I found my journals from the past year and a half, which brought on nostalgia, which brought on the thirst for writing, so here we go.
This isn’t the kind of nostalgia that makes you miss things, but rather a sort of nostalgia that makes you grateful for every little memory that sprung from those late night conversations and early morning journal entries. In my opinion, this is the best kind of nostalgia. It makes me sort of sink into myself and remember why I am sitting here in this moment.
God has picked me up, set me apart, and placed me in room 173 in a hall at Berry College because He knew exactly what He was doing with my heart. I’m trusting that He knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me a future. Jesus knew I would need this night without a roommate just to dance around my room (with great enthusiasm) to Taylor Swift & Rend Collective. He knows the words that set my soul on fire, which is what I found myself writing about this morning. This thirst for Him can only be quenched by His Word and this incredible quiet time I have been persistently seeking.
There was a conversation had today that switched my perspective on something major. It was one of those conversations where you want to pull out your phone and start taking notes, but you feel like the person would think you were texting and it would be rude (I took a couple of notes anyways). Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to soak in all of this new knowledge from one of the most amazing, God-fearing women I have ever met (and luckily I work with her, so I get to hear new things from her quite often).
“We’re judging ourselves and we’re judging each other and we’re scared to death that this [relationship with God] isn’t actually happening.” – Erin Moniz
We get this idea and set up these expectations for how we think we should hear from God. On one hand, we’re saying that God is always here and speaking through people, His Spirit, and His Word, and pouring into our lives, but then on the other hand, we’re sitting here, desperately waiting and wanting God to say something, loud and clear. We question whether or not He is actually here, while we’ve already said that He is always here. She told me that God is always speaking into our lives, but we just have to learn His voice and learn how to turn off the noise around us long enough to get what He is trying to convey to us. I think that has definitely been a hurdle that I have yet to jump because I am a very structured person who believes that God will speak to me in very specific ways, but I learned today that is rarely the case. Not only does He use His people, His Spirit, and His Word, but He uses quite literally everything around us. And now that I think about it, I have consciously found Him in many things over the past month (house church, bike rides, notes in the margins of my Bible, letters, relationships, car ride conversations, speech class, coffee, new worship music, etc.). However, so much time is spent focusing on these distractions that when we hone in and try to focus on God’s voice and seek Him out, we get lost.
If we were able to teach ourselves how to cut out that noise, we would be able to hear God’s voice. Now, I wish I could give a “How to” on this one, but unfortunately, I’m still learning how to do this too because it does not come easily. You can’t just sit down one day and say, “Alright, God, speak to me.” It just won’t work like that, or at least it definitely hasn’t in my experience. Try it out and let me know what happens.
Another thing is that it is so hard for us to understand that we don’t have to present ourselves a certain way to God. You know, I don’t have to set up my Bible, my journal, and my coffee, all nice and neat, and make my bed before I jump into my quiet time. I don’t have to get up, take a shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed before I pray to God. I could just open my eyes, first thing when I wake up in the morning, pull the sheets back over my head and preach the gospel to myself, all before 7 AM.
And I know this was all very scatterbrained, and I kind of haphazardly strung together thoughts, like Christmas lights, as they came at me, but I’m new at this. I enjoy it though, so here goes nothing. Here’s to a new season.
Here’s to the craziest experiences and adventures I’ve ever had in my life. The never-ending theological conversations in the chaplain’s office, which leave me wanting to seek Jesus even harder than before. The many “first times.” The items I have crossed off of my bucket list (karaoke & clubbing, among other things). Learning that I should probably never sing “Time After Time” for karaoke ever again. Ever. The evening bike rides, I find myself taking quite frequently nowadays, to watch the sunset. The naps I have taken in my trusty ENO. Fawning over little fawns (I’ve also learned how to make puns…incredible ones at that). The sarcasm I have so gracefully decided to pack up & carry with me into college. The strengthening love for my coffee pot (we’re actually in a very committed relationship now). The photo strips on my wall that remind me where I came from, because sometimes everyone needs some of that. The carefully thought out letters from a dear friend, which make my day. The fact that I can make “adult” decisions now. The stories in the Bible that God draws me in with. Here’s to God revealing Himself to me through sunsets, Guatemalan coffee, and an empty college chapel. Here’s to having little tastes of Heaven with each new day.