There seem to be times when one thing after another happens that all seem to point toward the same idea, same need, same change. One or two of these instances and we might shrug it off. But when you start noticing them all around you, they morph into one big sign that begs you to listen up.
In a Bible study I took a couple of years ago, this sort of chain of events was called "the mercy of confirmation." It was that when God really wants us to do something, he is merciful and will often tell us over and over again to get our attention. Of course we ought to respond and obey the first time, but it usually takes us a little while to catch on...
Such has been the case lately, for me where God has gently been placing circumstances in my path that have all been pointing, like a giant, glowing arrow, toward the call to slow down.
It started off innocently enough, when my husband and I decided to check out a local bird-watching walk. Yes, bird-watching. It was nothing neither of us had ever had much interest in, but it would be educational, outdoors and free. Why not? And after our first excursion—where the other "birders" heaped years' worth of insights and knowledge upon us—we were in awe of how peaceful the whole event had been, where we'd stand beneath a knotted, hundred-year-old tree and scan its branches for minutes on end, looking for a fluttering of wings or pecking of beaks.
Little did I know that my soul was thirsting for more of this.
A couple of weeks later, my husband suggested we begin a weekly routine of observing our own Sabbath. (A few months ago, we did enjoy one day of intentional rest, but that was as far as it went that time.) And the first week we tried it, I could barely sit still, as I stared at the dishes stacked in the sink, made mental notes of emails to type, or recipes to look up. I even kept a to-do list for the next day, when I could start tackling productivity with abandon. A sad reality that I hardly even knew how to appreciate rest.
Multiple sermons, readings and Scripture verses later, one thing started to pop up and then another. They strung together like beads, each building off the other until I got a book in the mail that made the string complete. It was a study titled, Becoming a Woman of Simplicity.
As I started moving through the pages, I started to see how everything I'd been reading—about abiding in Jesus, about our need for the Holy Spirit, about Jerusalem being rebuilt—fit together like a masterpiece: "She is a woman of profound simplicity because she has only one focus: being simply and purely devoted to Christ," the introduction read.
That's when I understood that the Holy Spirit was calling me into an exploration of simplifying, of uncluttering for the sake of putting Christ first. I'm still at the very beginning of this journey and not sure the specifics it entails just yet. Except that I know I'm going to try to keep my ears perked and eyes widened as I wait for more "mercies" to come my way...
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."
Feel free to read more at her blog, Life Blessons.
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