A Simple Evening

Sitting on my third-floor apartment balcony is one of my favorite things. The other night I bundled up in a blanket, made some coffee, lit a candle, and moved a floor lamp next to my patio chair. I started reading a good book, but was often distracted by how perfect the evening felt. I reveled in God’s nature.

 

The sky was a hazy orange-gray as the sun set. There was a constant low rumbling of thunder in the distance, and flashes of lightning. A storm was moving in.

 

Looking down from my balcony, bunnies chased each other through the wrought iron fence surrounding the pool and across the sidewalk, their white tails bouncing. The ducks floated in little cliques in the pool until the light rain began, and they flew off to find a more sheltered area.

 

 

I was protected from the rain by the roof, so I stayed in my chair and took in all the senses. The smell of the rain, the shift of the wind, how the giant tree kept any rain from getting all the way to the sidewalk directly below, though it poured for a few minutes before the storm moved quickly on. How the big rain drops darken the edge of the concrete of my balcony, and little gusts of wind brought tiny drops inches closer to my chair. How my flower seeds had just begun to sprout, tiny and green above the dirt.

 

I was so content. Alone, but thanking God for a quiet evening, not even in intentional prayer requests or Bible reading, but just experiencing his goodness. I had no words, but knew I didn’t need them. God knows all. It’s a pretty amazing relationship.

 

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God?
— Psalm 42:1-2

 

That evening on my balcony in the rain felt so special because I felt God’s presence, but also because, I’ll admit, moments like that are kind of rare in my life. How often do I really sit still? No interruptions, no to-do lists, no expectations, no plans. No novels, and no Netflix or even thinking about what I could be watching on Netflix instead. Look around. What does God want you to slow down and notice?
 

 

There’s beauty in nature, our messy, half-furnished apartments, and in our incredibly blessed lives.
 

 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
— Psalm 19:1

 

What is waiting just beyond our own bubble or self-created world that is even better than any interior decorator could design? Better than any entertaining distraction?

 

How can we shift our focus to the Creator of all the things and people who matter most? For me, it helps to be in nature or out of my apartment so I can’t look around and see all the things I want to change about my place or make plans for all the things I want to buy. It helps me step away. Pivot to what’s really important.

 

Maybe we just need some bug spray and a camping chair to get us started.
 

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.
— Psalm 42:8

On the Road: Lessons from the Mountains

On the Road 2 At 11,000 ft, I can’t remember what was stressing me out when I left home this morning. Maybe I should have been checking items off my to-do list instead of going out for a hike. Maybe I should have sent out a client project yesterday. Maybe I was worrying about my son’s medication. Maybe I was being a bit over-introspective. I don’t remember what I picked to worry on today, but I look out and the world before me is so vast.

I’m on the tundra above the tree line. Across the valley, those mountain pines look like blades of grass. The next mountain looks so close, and yet the cars driving up that next rise look like ants crawling up their ant hill, all in a line. I’m getting some perspective.

Trail Ridge Road

It looks as if the whole world is within view, but I’m only looking at a small corner of Colorado. What’s more, I’m only looking at a section of the park. Consequently, I feel so small - in a good way. What are my worries compared to this vast place? Compared to the one who created all of this, and holds it in the palm of his hand? What are my small worries compared to the Lord who created me, loves me, cares for me, saves me, sanctifies me?

I lift up my eyes to the hill -

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Rocky Mountain National Park

In these mountains - rough and dangerous, vast beautiful, God has placed creatures. Birds fly in the air, marmots sit on the rocks, dall sheep are perched, the elk bugle. How do they live here? God cares for these little guys in a wild environment. They have food, they have shelter, they thrive in a harsh place. He helps them. Of course he helps me, too. He tells me in Luke that I am even more valuable than these birds. Why worry?

mountain bird

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Luke 12:24

 

elk

Is there a place that gives you perspective?

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