By nature, I’m the serious type. Although being the oldest of four children, I grew up like an only child, and during my whole childhood, I was surrounded by adults my grandmother’s age. I often found myself eavesdropping on the adults wanting to be a part of their conversations. I wasn’t necessarily super playful or silly, and I lived in the midst of adult situations that children should never be a part of.
Even as an adult now, I’m still serious. I laugh and have a good time, but I’m always conscious about how I’m adulting. I try to do it well and convince others I do it well too. And mostly, this comes down to being a good doer, a get-it-done type of person. Productivity is often the goal, and so I tend to operate more in Martha mode than in Mary mode — busy doing instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus.
With the heaviness of 2020 behind me, I knew I wanted this year to be a bit lighter. I had no idea how to make that happen, but God knew. One day and much to my surprise, my friend Beka invited me on a trip with several of our friends for a girls getaway in Arizona. I’d always heard of these kinds of girls’ trips but had never been on one; I was delighted.
All of my friends are women from the church I’ve been attending for the last couple of years. In more ways than I can count, I still often feel like the new kid. These friends had been in community with one another for years, decades even, but despite my apprehension about belonging, I said yes to going.
Though I travel often, I never do so with the sole purpose of leisure. I like having an agenda, a solid plan, but we made tentative plans that we held loosely. We created room for spontaneity. We slept in. We ate a lot. We lounged, laughed, cried, prayed, watched movies, had adventures, and we even literally stopped to smell the cacti.
The whole trip felt a bit surreal. There were no demands or pressures or expectations from others or the world around us. There was only the present and being present.
Being present isn’t always easy though, and last year proved it. Like everyone else in the world, I felt like God was trying to slow me down, but I fought Him on it. I’m not good at being still or taking my time. I’m not good at resting and not producing.
But during that trip, God reminded me that being present, enjoying leisure, soaking in the beauty of community, and laughing together are gifts of life — gifts from Him. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”
My heart was made merry through those friends of mine, and it was like medicine. I didn’t know what I was missing until I experienced it. I had been lonelier than I’d cared to admit, I craved connection with community, and I longed for deeper fellowship. But I had let my expectations of myself and others to hold me back from experiencing the fullness of life that I can have in Christ. I’d let my thoughts weigh me down and had kept joy and adventure at bay.
It was during those days away that the Holy Spirit showed me what I had been missing and unlocked a desire in me for more — more life, more joy, more depth in friendship. I want this year to be marked with letting go of every thought that keeps me from experiencing this fullness and being wide open to adventure with Him.
God is constantly restoring and freeing us to live more fully in Him, and He invites us into an abundant life when we say yes to Him. God’s invitation awaits us — right now, today. He holds His hand out to us and asks us if we’d like to join Him on an adventure. What will your answer be?Leave a Comment