Once upon a time, I sat on a dock by the Colorado River. It was spring in Texas, so it was a warm day, but the breeze was pleasant. With my eyes closed, the combination of the wind and the sound of the water against the shore could almost convince me that I was beside the ocean. I was there to meet with the Lord. I came with an agenda. I had questions that I wanted answers to. I was committed to sit there until I heard from him, and I did.
Not only did he show up, he provided more than I could have even been prepared to ask for. I feverishly wrote down every detail of the encounter, both committing it to paper and etching it into my mind. I recorded a prayer so that, as I left the river, I could come back to that moment any time I needed.
Since then, I have done just that. I have closed my eyes and pretended I was next to the river, listening to this prayer over and over. I have lived off of that experience for months.
That was April. Today, August ends, and I find myself wondering why I am reliving this past experience, rather than simply seeking a new one. I have approximately one million excuses, most of them kingdom honoring, like RIOT and Preteen Camp. I went on a family vacation, which was good for my mental health. I have helped people in need, which is what Jesus tells us to do, right? I led my community group, made new relationships, read books, started school, and the list goes on. On and on with good things, I might add.
Can I be honest with you? This doing-good-things thing is one of my best and worst character traits. I am great at doing good things. I will sacrifice time, energy and money to do good things. And not for the glory or the recognition — I genuinely enjoy bringing God glory by doing good things for people in need. However, I often find myself allowing these good things to fill up my life to the point where there is not room for more.
I almost find myself saying, “Sorry God. I don’t have time for you today because I have this list of things I have to do for you.” If you were a fly on the wall in almost any of my therapy sessions, you would hear my therapist telling me that I cannot be good at everything, that something has to give. Without hesitation, my response is always, “There is nothing I can cut out!” I will just pray as I am driving, so I make sure I get that in. I will read my Bible for class, and that can count for my personal life as well. It will be fine. I will be fine.
But it’s not fine. Psalms 91:1 tells us that, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” I did not do a word study or anything, but I know that dwelling means to live there, and living there means being at home. Somehow, I no longer think that multitasking my time with God counts for much, and it certainly will not lead me into his shadow.
I do not want to dwell in doing good things, nor do I want to dwell in my past river experience. Today I want to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, and tomorrow, and the day after that. So, the question I am asking myself, and you, is this: “When will I move in with God, and what will that look like for me?” Maybe I will revisit the river in my mind again. Not to live off of the past, but to tell God I am coming home.