If January is the start of a new calendar year, September is the start of new routines. We put our daughter on the school bus this morning and my husband drove off to work right behind her. I walked into an empty house for the first time in months. Immediately, my mind started thinking of all the things I could do to make life better. During the school year, Allie goes to sleep with music playing, so I thought of new-to-her CDs I could introduce. She’s my little night owl, so I often go to bed before her in the summer. Now, with an earlier bedtime, we can read a book together again on a regular basis. We read a morning devotional during her breakfast.
I’m going to eat healthier. Somehow I’ll find a way to get myself on that elliptical machine sitting in our bedroom. I swept an inch of dust off of it the other day. Sigh. I’m going to schedule a time for daily writing. My calendar has one coffee appointment this week; book club and lunch with a friend the next.
Certainly you have your list too. We’re settling in to new beginnings and it feels fresh and exciting. There’s more to it though. I feel a stirring in me this fall. Actually, it was there this summer but I spent my time immersed in milking every bit of fun I could out of June, July and August.
I feel like God has something more for me and my family. Now, I have a whole list of what things the "more" might be. But I've walked with the Lord long enough to know what He has for us is actually more of Him. To borrow words from an old hymn, Lord, send a great revival in my soul. I’m willing but here’s the thing.
He waits to whisper to me, in a way only my spirit can hear; and in order to hear him, I have to really listen. It would seem things need to be mighty quiet for that. Now, I have no problem with quiet. This time of year, I sit at my dining room table in the country, with hardly any noise around me at all. A handful of cars throughout the day. The dogs might issue a warning bark or two. So many of the summer sounds will go away over the next few weeks. From where I sit, it is quiet.
Quiet doesn’t necessarily mean still though. Even when I’m alone, I can rustle up a lot of activity. I read a ton of blogs, Facebook is always calling, there are a ton of chores to do; at last count, I was 73% of the way through a good book I’m reading.
God wants me to be still. I can feel it. He wants me to sit with Him for long spells. Before the weather turns too cold, He wants to go on walks with me. My husband and I took our daughter out with a map the other day and spent time explaining how it corresponds to the driving directions we follow to get to a certain place. My husband pulled up to the stop sign at the end of our road and we sat there longer than usual, explaining to her which way we should turn in order to get to town and how we knew that. For the first time, I noticed a big wasp nest hanging on the stop sign. Do you know how many times I’ve driven up to that stop sign and paused for a few seconds before going on my way? Yet, I had never noticed the wasp nest. God wants me to slow down and notice the wasp nests.
There are times I sense God asking me to kneel in prayer but I never do. Oh, I pray. This morning, I had my own back-to-school jitters for our little girl, so I prayed from 4:15-4:30am. I hope she knows she has a praying mama! But again, there’s a difference between quiet and still. Be still and know I am God. Kneel in prayer and focus for a time. I think he’s asking more of me.
As I tossed and turned, trying to get back to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, I was reminded of the prophet, Elijah. He had an encounter with God on a mountaintop. The Lord passed by and Elijah watched for Him, but He was not in the great and strong wind. He was not in the earthquake. He was not in the fire. Fireworks! Drama! No, God was in the gentle breeze. When Elijah allowed himself to experience that (hardly noticeable but so refreshing) - that’s when God spoke.
He has some things to say to me and I have to get myself still enough to hear it. That means letting the to-do list go sometimes. It might mean reading less or finding new things to read. I have to look at my list of responsibilities and see what tasks are good things getting in the way of greater things.
It’s going to mean establishing a new routine.