Finding Joy in the Wide-Open Spaces
Any other list makers out there? Time management expert wannabes? Someone who continually refines the craft of getting as much as possible done in your daily life? Are you a new ideas person? Do you thrive on getting new things started?
You need an answer to a life question? You know the end result, but don't know the steps to get there? Find that simple decisions often feel overwhelming?
If you said yes to any or all of the above, you might also find that you sometimes find yourself worn out and continually asking God for relief of feeling overwhelmed. I know I do!
Don’t get me wrong, I.love.my.life. Really!
I love the people I have the privilege of walking with in this incredible life journey. I love being busy with my Father’s business. I love being used by God to fulfill His plan.
The fullness of my life is what keeps me happy and keeps me jumping out of bed each morning to see what He has in store for my life. The opportunities exhilarate me. He continually allows me to cross paths with others that are looking for Him and His plan. But, sometimes I get tired.
Lately, I find myself journaling and praying, specifically asking God to release me from the feeling of being overwhelmed.
I want to rest. I want to lie down in those green pastures in Psalms 23. I want to experience
the freedom that I read about in His Word. He is clear in His Word that those who are free are free indeed.
I want the kind of freedom to dance in a wide-open field. Space to have belly laughs about nothing with someone who doesn’t have a care in the world. I long for the freedom not to feel like I must choose between working on a project or be behind on God’s plan.
Those feelings frame the experience I want to share with you…
One early morning as I was praying and asking God to clarify my next steps, asking Him what His will was for me to most effectively use my resources, time, and abilities to follow Him. I saw myself standing before several paths. Try as I may, clarity on the right path to take was not obvious to me. Panic and that old familiar feeling of being overwhelmed once again began to rise within me. As I stood and looked at the paths, not one of them was illuminated; however, what overwhelmed me most was that all the paths were good. They seemed to be “right” for me. But, I knew that I could not fully commit to all the paths. Obviously, I was not going to get very far down all the paths at the same time. I needed to choose. But, which one?
This particular morning, as I was sitting still in my prayer time before the Lord and sharing my heart with Him. I asked Him to quiet my thoughts. To place my focus on Him. I asked God to speak. I listened. As I began to thank God for who He is and all He is doing, I could once again see myself standing in front of several paths. However, this time, I had a
new perspective, that perspective which only our creator can only expose. I had missed something earlier.
A peace came over me, and I looked down, that is when I saw that I was standing in a WIDE OPEN SPACE. The longer I stood there, the bigger the space became. I could still see all the paths, but I was not directly in front of them. I did not need to decide my best course immediately. It was as though I had space to breathe, and not only to breathe but to walk, dance, skip and even lie down if I wanted. This space felt good. The space not only brought peace, but JOY! The decision of the right path was not closing in on me. They seemed like a choice in the near future, but not consuming me. Even the words, WIDE-OPEN SPACE, brought freedom to my heart.
That still small voice in my thoughts that God uses to speak to us was saying, “Look at your current space. Don’t get so focused on the paths that you miss the freedom I am giving you. Enjoy! Take Joy in the WIDE-OPEN SPACE. Be free! I will illuminate the path you are to walk down at just the right time. As you find joy in this wide-open space, you will enjoy such a season of freedom that you will clearly see the right path at just the right time. Your head will be clear, and you will have an extra amount of joy to take on your journey with you.”
Since that sweet moment in the presence of God, I have been making a conscious effort to find joy in the moments. Beautiful moments that I might have missed. I want to follow God and His perfect plan at just the right time with a soul full of joy!
Here is a sampling of moments in the last couple of weeks I have found JOY IN THE WIDE-OPEN SPACE:
*Hearing my 82-year-old mother read aloud the short stories she has written.
*Laughing with my husband about an inside joke only we understand.
*A gift of a day with no agenda spent all alone.
*Sitting by a gal at a women’s event that I had never met before who told me her story.
*Watching my daughter become a mom and see a love in her eyes I’ve never seen before.
*Having a friend call and avoid my questions about her life to find out about mine.
*Taking a walk and smiling at strangers who genuinely seemed glad to see me.
How about you? Will you join me in FINDING JOY IN THOSE WIDE OPEN SPACES?