We went for a walk today, down a sidewalk right after lunch. The temperature was perfect and the sky was blue like Caribbean water. It was a day that feels like God is showing off. The plan was to walk a little bit before we headed back to the car to go home. And then one daughter stepped off the sidewalk and shared that she was just going to walk in the grass…off the path and into open space. I kept walking until daughter number two said, “Let’s go with her.” Before I knew it, we were sitting in the middle of the grass in the park.
That in itself would have been fun enough, but our day turned into an adventure when we started to notice all the creepy crawly things around us in the grass. It was as if we had just sat down in the middle of a city of bugs all very busy with their tasks for the day. The spiders scurried, the black things climbed over and under blades of grass, the ants quickly moved about and the ladybugs found their way into our hands with grace.
We were having a LADYBUG MOMENT. A moment in our day when we just stop doing what we planned to do and take notice of what is going on around us. It was a moment we would have missed if we would have stayed on the path trying to get more steps on our fitbit. It was a moment where we sat together and just enjoyed each others company and the company of the creepy crawly things.
Over lunch we enjoyed a LADYBUG CONVERSATION. A conversation that invited all of us to think more deeply and share. We asked questions that mattered. We asked things like, “If you were in my shoes, how would you handle the situation.” “Where do you see God in this?” “What would you like for dessert?”
And how did we do all of this in the middle of the week? Well….we had a LADYBUG DAY! We played hookie from all those things that we were suppose to be doing and we did something else. Something life giving! We took all the should of’s and could of’s in our day and just put them away so their friend guilt would go away too. Gardeners and farmers love the ladybug because it helps control pests. It controlled the pests in our life today very well.
As the sun sets on this day, I know it will be a day that I will remember. God was all around us this day because we took time to notice. When was your last LADYBUG MOMENT, CONVERSATION or DAY? It’s time to step off the path and experience an adventure. Your backyard is a great place to start!
Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34
What do you do when you are told to stop? That has been my question since February. It has been haunting me because I do not have a quick answer or an easy one. Stopping sounds dreamy until it is real. Then it is not dreamy anymore. It is a waste of time…only for slackers…not an option. (My inner thoughts sound like a normal American…produce, produce, produce.)
My stop sign was put up while I was peacefully sleeping one night or maybe when I was in the Starbucks line ordering my soy chi latte. Someone dug the hole and planted the post beside the road far enough away that I could not see them doing it. If I could only find the person(s), I would make them give me names. (Now I am starting to sound like a book I just read…selfish…revenge…anger.)
But I am a person of faith. In fact, I am a pastor…faith is my business. Yes…I have been told to stop going down the road I was on. Yes…I was surprised. Yes…I have grieved. My other questions have been…Where is God in this? Who else did God ask to stop in the Bible?
The first person that comes to mind is Martha. Poor Martha (Poor Meredith??) She was about so many things. So much busyness. So much stress. So much planning. For Martha, it was time to stop. It was time to be humbled. It was time to be teachable.
As I see my stop sign shining on the horizon, I find myself stepping off the pavement even a little sooner than I have to step off. I find myself not answering all the questions but simply living with the questions knowing the answers will come on a day I least expect them. Then I will know but it won’t matter anymore.
Until then I am going to walk off the pavement… on the dirt…on the grass for a while to remember what it feels like to not have a plan or an appointment. Each day may feel like a gift and that is worth stopping.
I appreciate how life gives us natural stopping points. The New Year, seasons, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations and Sundays. For me, the beginning of September is a stopping point. It is when I clean out our swim bag that we have faithfully carried all summer long to our fun adventures. It is when I toss out the old lunch boxes and my children thoughtfully select which pattern we will to live with on the new box for the next year. (This year I will see Barbie each morning!!) It is when I take a look at our schedule and activities that are available.
Spiritually, it is a time to simply stop and breath. I reflect on the new season that is beginning. How many have I already lived through and how many more will I have to enjoy? What do I need in my life that will bring more experiences of peace and joy? Who do I need to connect with or reconnect with this season? Is God calling me to try something new or calling me to enjoy life as it is?
I no longer carried around a backpack in September for school that you can see. But maybe I carry around one you can’t see. Maybe I carry a spiritual backpack. This is a great time to decide what needs to be taken out and what needs to be put in for this next season. I have to decide how much I want to carry around and how much I want to let go. The more seasons that I live through, the more I realize that life is truly a long process of letting go.
What about you? What are you looking for this fall? How can you make yourself available for God’s presence in your life? What needs to go and what needs to be added?
Lord, you have examined me. You know me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. Even from far away, you comprehend my plans. You study my traveling and resting. You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways. There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord, that you don’t already know completely. You surround me—front and back. You put your hand on me. That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it. Psalm 139: 1-6