Then come the times like what I experienced earlier this week where I am stressed to the max, I feel like I can't balance anything else on my plate, and I get so caught up in everyday duties and responsibilities and trying to do them all just right that I forget what (or Whom) I really live for. And after so many times of witnessing God's providence, grace, and faithfulness, I must say that I astound myself. How is it possible for me to so quickly forget all that God has done and is doing? How is it possible for me to get so lost, so caught up in this dust-devil of a life when I know what being led, step by step, by the hand of the Shepherd feels like?
These are thoughts that occurred to me on my eight hour drive home from Abilene on Monday. I was at the end of my rope. I simply couldn't take the pressure of school anymore, so in five minutes I had thrown a bunch of clothes along with some necessities in a duffel bag, ready to take off running the minute I finished my ten o'clock exam. I was angry, and while it came across as embitterment toward the academic world and the ability of its pressure to suck the joy out of that which I am so passionate about, in reality that anger was a soul's deep cry for fulfillment. I know that sounds slightly melodramatic, but it's the truth.
I'm thinking about these verses from Song of Solomon:
"I looked for the one my heart loves. I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city through it's streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves... When I found the one my heart loves... I held him and would not let him go."
These verses so aptly describe the cry of our souls. That's life. Truly. It's a depth of love that brings purpose to every day. Passionately pursuing the Beloved, even to the point of desperation. We are to seek God in everything that we do. You know, "In the streets, in your home, on the job, all alone, highways, byways..." that whole deal. It's not just a fun song to sing! It's Truth, and it's a huge part of abundant Life. We MUST make pursuing the Beloved and searching for where God is moving in every moment the single most important part of our lives. If we don't, our souls will NOT be satisfied! That's where I was at. I was at that point where I was so caught up in the activities of my everyday life (activities that included reading the Bible to check it off my list) that I forgot to look for my Beloved. Frankly, I hadn't even noticed that He wasn't there, or worse, that He was right there all the time and I just wasn't enjoying Him.
I know it's a strange thing to say in today's world - that the worst thing we can possibly do is get so caught up in activity that we don't find our enjoyment in God - but it's true. Busyness and stress wouldn't bother us so much if it weren't. I learned that once, not too long ago. I learned how important it is to look for God in every aspect of life, to practice the presence of God, to search until I find my Beloved and then to never let Him go. I learned that God is in everything and seeking His presence lends purpose to even the most mundane parts of life. But then I forgot, and that astounds me. Which brings us full circle, back to the beginning of this post. I praise God for holidays and times of rest and, most of all, for His willingness to stop and remind me of things I've forgotten. He is so patient and gracious that way.
I'll close with a quote from George Mueller that John Piper used in the sermon that helped get me realigned. May it serve as a precious reminder to you as well.
"I saw more clearly than ever that the first great primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord . . . not how much I might serve the Lord, . . . but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished."
I pray this will become the thought that starts my day, "I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves."
For the One my heart loves,