I didn’t want to go to sleep last night.
Not because I was scared of the dark but because in doing so … in succumbing to a night’s slumber … I was concerned about missing something. A Jesus kind of something. A something that sometimes comes to us in the deep of night when the rest of the world has kindly found its quiet so that we can find our God.
Last night I tossed and I turned and I thought about God. He was there, ever present before me and stirring my imagination in incomparable measure. I couldn’t shut him down. I didn’t want to, so I fought it. Vigorously. Painfully and willfully, until I could no longer force my flesh to the contrary.
My sleep was fitful; I had the “groggies” and the dark circles to prove it this morning as I rolled out of bed to prepare my heart for worship. But it was worth it. Who needs sleep when Jesus is on the brain? Who indeed?!
I’m not sure how I arrived at my late night wrestling, but I have a clue. Prior to going to bed, I spent some time perusing some of my favorite blogs. I came across this one. Its author always makes me pause. She’s eloquent in her delivery of her heart and never ceases to stop me in my tracks and make me think. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I laugh, but most of the time, I simply read and absorb and speak my whispered “yes” to her pen and to my God.
It’s not that her life is overly fantastic. Like most of us, she’s a “day in, day out” kind of person. Her life doesn’t live on the stage nor does she wear a title of fame and fortune. She simply walks her days and writes her thoughts and allows her readers to join her on the road. Even though we’ve never met, I feel the tug of the thread that ties our hearts together despite the miles and choices that separate our journeys.
I thought a long time about my friend last night … about the connection that we share and why her words strike a chord within me. And in the midst of my pondering, just as clearly as I’ve ever sensed the voice of God speaking to me in my spirit, I heard him saying this…
Laura pays attention to life.
“What? Could you say that again, Father? I’m not sure I heard you correctly.”
Laura pays attention to life.
“What does that look like, Father?”
Like details. Like pausing long enough to consider the noises around her. Like being willing to bend to those noises and to pay homage to the moment. Like wrapping up all the truth of a single encounter and writing its worth with all the tenderness a heart can hold. Like finding me in the details. Like…
paying attention to life.
“Well then, Father, teach me to pay attention. Teach me what it means to bow to the moment and to live my life with a richer understanding that you can be found in each one of them.”
And with that, friends, my night’s contemplation began. A conversation with God. A face to face encounter with the only God who can be known and who longs for us to feel the rhythm of his heartbeat as we go and while on the road.
Paying attention to life. It starts for us even as it started for the Apostle Peter.
“Listen to him.”
When we do …
when we stop our mouths from running and our selfishness from needing,
when we refuse our agendas their consumption and our preferences their pleasure,
when we silence our minds from chaos and our determination from willful control,
then we, like the privileged three, will look up and see our exceptional and only Jesus in all of his glory, knowing that we have stood in the presence of sacred moment.
Paying attention to life. Stopping long enough to pay homage to a single moment. That is when we will see our Jesus unfolding his extraordinary kingdom into our ordinary everyday. And to hold that? To walk the soil of that kind of sacred sowing?
Well, for that, my fellow pilgrims, I will labor to fight sleep. I will entreat a night’s wrestling in hopes of receiving a Father’s beholding. I will toss and turn and struggle to override my flesh so that I can take hold of the face of God and carry his glory with me down the mountain into the valley below.
Oh, that we would fix our gaze in intentional pause before our God this day. How he longs to show himself faithful to each one of us when we do. Thus, I pray…
Father, help me to pay attention to life; stop me, pause me, push me and prod me to my knees and to my silence until I can no longer see me but only you in your extravagant splendor and holiness. Embed your glory within my frame. Splash the truth of your living witness all over me until I’m dripping wet with you, Jesus. Forgive me for thinking that my words, my agenda and my needs, are more important than your presence. Break through the clouds this day for my friends, and show them your glory. Penetrate the enemy’s schemes to steal, kill, and destroy, with the awe-inspiring and conquering witness of who you are. Surround our lives with your presence, and then move us forward in obedience to share your truth with a world that needs to stop talking and to start paying attention. You, alone, are worthy of our heart’s pause. Humbly, I concede mine to your revelation this day. Amen.
Copyright © May 2009 – Elaine Olsen
PS: In honor of my friend, Laura, I would like to honor her with one of the give-away books, “Finding an Unseen God” by Alicia Chole. The other two winners (randomly drawn by my youngins’) are Joanne at Blessed and Sharon at Sit With Me Awhile. Congratulations ladies. Please send me your snail mail via my email, and as soon as I receive the books from Alicia, I will send them to you.