I love the outdoors. When I lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, there was a National Park trailhead not more than 30 seconds away from my home. I could hike to my heart’s content, inhaling the woodsy fresh scent of the Ponderosa pines, their fallen needles cushioning my every step as I explored the beauty around me. The night sky was so clean and clear, I could see the milky way galaxy just walking out into my backyard. If I took even a few minutes of time, I could easily find a falling star to wish upon. It was, in a word, gorgeous!
I have also lived in places that were anything but gorgeous. There was no innate beauty around me to admire, no nearby natural escapes to wander through. The main parts of town looked unkempt and forlorn. The landscape was monotonous, boring.
I have found life can be much the same way. What God wants for each one of us is a beautiful, amazing journey along a pathway specifically designed for us. Yet all too often, we get so busy making our plans, setting our goals and striving for some future date or situation, that we miss the daily choices and decisions God lays before us that allow our forward movement toward that beautiful, rich path. Our life begins to feel like drudgery because we keep treading the same old rutted, well-worn road we understand but don’t deeply enjoy. We know we want better, but we don’t stop long enough to listen each and every day for the ways the Lord is trying to direct us to the bountiful journey He has marked out for each of us.
In Psalm 32:8, God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trust in him.”
For me, this means taking time out in every day to connect with God, to allow His peace to wash over me, and to be in tune with His voice so I can see the road signs He has laid out for me, not for some future date, but for this very day. Even if others jump in on my path, making it feel dark and scary, I know God is right there, holding my hand, leading me to “fresh paths of adventure, revealing to [me] things [I] did not know,” to quote Sarah Young. Then I can say to God in return, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance,” (Psalm 32:7), and “Blessed be God—he heard me praying. He proved he’s on my side; I’ve thrown in in my lot with him. Now I’m jumping for joy, and shouting and singing my thanks to him,” (Psalm 28:7).
For Further Thought: This week, take some time to get out in nature and be reminded of the beauty God has created just for you. Think of some ways you can incorporate making space to connect with God into your daily rhythm so you can see the road signs He lays out each day for your life.