A while back, my chiropractor asked me what was new in my life, and I could pretty well sum it up in one sentence. He turned to me and replied, “I think that may be a good thing.” I just smiled. He didn’t know the details of my life, but he could see how I was changing. In every appointment, he could see the signs of emotional and mental stresses on my body. He could see when my smile was fake. He could tell when I didn’t want to leave because it was a safe space to spend my time. He knew that during those 20-minute appointments, I was able to find a little bit of quietness- a place where I could be myself with no expectations.
The thing is, life lacks quiet moments; moments where your brain isn’t running a fast track through life, moments where you can actually rest and feel recharged. Once you start running on that hamster wheel, it’s hard to slow down. Usually, the only way that we slow down is because our physical or mental health gives out. When that happens, however, the wheel typically doesn’t slow down to a nice pace. It stops completely, causing us to crash. We then have to stop, lick our wounds, reevaluate, and then determine how best to move forward. Eventually, we pick up the pieces, get back on the wheel, and try again.
In this house upon a hill
You won’t mind it
Some things you can’t know till you’re still
In the silence
Let your spinning thoughts slow down
In the stillness
Things have a way of working out
Allow Me to introduce Myself again
I’m the One that knew you before time began
I’ve been waiting for you to let Me be your friend
Everything you ever need is everything I am
I Am, I Am, I Am
–Amanda Lindsey Cook, “House on a Hill”
I heard this song a few months back, and it got me thinking about this “place,” a house where I could go and be with God. A place where there is no hamster wheel and no expectations, only rest. But then I thought about the bravery that it takes to go to this place.
While we may know that God provides a quiet place to recharge and refill ourselves with His goodness and grace, walking up the hill and entering his house can be terrifying. Think of the Prodigal Son and the first time that he came home. He must have been shaking in his boots as he knew how far from his father he had traveled, both in distance and in his father’s expectation of himself. With every step back home, the Prodigal Son had to consider his sins, his mistakes, his grievances, and his impact on others. When he finally reached home, I think he was carrying every emotional burden that he could. He knew that his father would be able to see every part of him that strayed from the hopes and dreams that he had for his own son. Yet, his father hugged him. In that simple act, it was if every terrible part of his past that brought shame and guilt was erased. If the son was unable to make that journey home and encounter his father, he would have never received the forgiveness and peace of mind that he was so eager to have. At the same time, his father would never have been able to show the limitless boundaries of his heart and the love that it carried for his son.
Coming back to God after stepping away is hard. You may not have realized that you have put distance between yourself and God. You could still be reading your Bible, and praying and listening to worship music, but actively be pushing God away from the areas of your heart that are long for his healing touch.
GOD WANTS TO BE CLOSE TO YOU. THERE IS NOTHING THAT YOU COULD DO THAT WOULD SEPARATE YOU FROM HIS LOVE.
Read that again.
Read that one more time and let it sink in.
For those of you are terrified of having God see your heart. For those of you who are scared to soak in His presence because you feel like you are unworthy. For those of you who have separated yourselves as a form of protection – God still sees you and is welcoming you home!
Be brave. Take those few steps up the hill. Pray for strength and then take a few more. Open the door and walk inside. Let yourself fall into your Father’s arms. Don’t be afraid of the pain, the tears, the shame. As soon as you let God see you, spend time with you, and give you that long overdue hug- it will get better.
There is no chaos in this quiet place with God. There are no expectations. There is no guilt.
There is abundant love. There is healing. There is someone who will wipe away every gross part of you that you have been hiding from the world. There is rest.
Knock on the door. God is waiting for you to make the first move and come home.