The starting point is more important than the final destination because it defines my journey. If I’m stuck in the past, I’m never able to catch up to myself. If I keep a foot in the future, I hobble along at a pitiful pace. I do both and end up stuck or stalled as a result. If I start where I am by making peace with my present, the journey will be as God intends. I rehash my past, rehearse my future, and miss my present.
Ice and snow have made for treacherous travel this week; when I finally did get out of the house, I found myself driving around with no destination in mind. It was wonderful to be moving after being sick and stuck indoors. Then, I sat in the sun and did nothing for a very long time. It was healing to soak in the sunshine and simply be. The best traveling is done when sitting still. It’s what allows my heart and soul to spiral upward, and that’s the destination I most desire.
Culture says be productive, go places, take charge of your own future, and never look back unless you need an excuse for your troubles. In Psalm 46:10, God has a different view.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” NIV
It’s silly to think stillness is the best way to move. Love is also a lot of silliness when you think about it. In fact, all of God’s ways are silly to the world. His ideas may be foolishness to some, but I learned this week that foolishness is the greatest wisdom of all. I plan to love when it makes no sense and be still when I feel like running. God reminded me this week that stillness is the very best starting point for any journey.
Anytime two roads diverged, I always took the more difficult one. It’s one thing that drove my daddy to distraction. He fussed and fumed from the time I was a toddler until I was grown about my propensity for the difficult. I got frustrated and lost at times as I insisted on doing things the hard way, and that was especially true when it came to praying. I made something simply beautiful into an uphill battle at times, and I would often feel as if I’d lost a heavy-weight boxing match after an intense prayer session.
I see the error of my ways, and I know daddy must be grinning from ear to ear. I’ve had several reoccurring dreams in my life. The one about the lake went away after resolving its source, but I’ve also had one involving stairs that returned this morning with a resolution of its own. In past dreams, I’ve been confronted with stairs that either go nowhere or are too frightening for me to try. There are many variations and locations, but the stairs are always at the center of the dream and are a source of fear. I’m not sure what all the dreams might mean, but I understood the one I had this morning.
The dream was very similar to the past dreams in that there were frightening stairs. There were three sets going down. The first set of steps was unstable and led to a dark room; the second set was a beautiful winding staircase, but the steps swung against the wall and collapsed completely each time I tried to step on. The third set was behind me, and I didn’t see them until I turned around in frustration. It was a simple set of three small concrete steps that led down to a paved road which was going right where I wanted to go. It wasn’t hard for me to discern the meaning of the dream. God was clearly showing me that the simple path has always been right there. My daddy tried to tell me the same thing for decades without success.
Praying is about stopping my striving and turning to God. His path is a simple one that leads where my striving isn’t able to take me. I may continue to have dreams of steps that frustrate, but something tells me I won’t be bothered with them anymore. As I got the girls to sleep this afternoon, I thought about how pleasant yesterday and today have been. I always love keeping the girls, but I am usually completely spent by Tuesday nap time. I actually feel better than I ever have and look forward to the days when I have them all day. We eat, play, and love all day long, and I believe I’m actually getting younger:)
Learning to relax has nudged me a little closer to God and given me the proper perspective when it comes to the girls. I’m taking the simple path with them rather than striving and worrying. Living, loving, and praying are better when I take the simple path. I’m finding it’s the one that leads to the praying life God has in mind for me. His ways are higher than mine because He doesn’t take the difficult path. He will go with me when I head down the steps into darkness or try to navigate a collapsing staircase, but He much prefers for me to take His steps:)