I’m sitting in my backyard for the first time this year. Summer has come and gone and I have yet to enjoy some quiet moments on my swing, enjoying the sun and the breeze, and all that God would show me there. The truth is my yard is one of my least favourite things about the place I call home. It is small and it’s surrounded by three and four-story houses. The feeling of being watched is not its only downfall. It is not what I want it to be. So when I sit and look around at all that could be done ~ a fence to be built, a garden over here, repairing the patches of grass over there ~ I realize that the place where I used to find rest now does nothing, but leave me feeling restless and uneasy.
The truth is that I have been feeling a lot of uneasiness and restlessness lately, and my yard is not to blame. Somewhere along this journey, I have lost my way and I am not what I want to be either. Life has been difficult. I have faced so many obstacles and trials in this past year, and even though my God has been faithful to clearly mark the path, I know as I sit here in silence that I have again and again chosen to go my own way. I have done a lot of wrestling and a lot of running ~ straying far from where God would have me be, when all the while I have heard my Father in Heaven whispering to my worn out heart that His way is best.
There are many paths from which we can chose to travel in this life and the Road of Independence is one that I am constantly drawn to. My life’s journey has required me to be able to stand on my own two feet, fend for myself, and be strong ~ continuously pushing forward against overwhelming odds. Learning to be independent was a necessity and it was all I knew until I met my Jesus and He began to teach me a new way: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I had never known that carrying a light burden was even possible, and even now, after walking a while with my Jesus, there are times when I am quick to exchange His easy yoke for the more familiar heavy burdens that I had grown so used to carrying on my own. The Road of Independence is a difficult trek full of the lies and deceptions of the enemy, but it is a familiar road and somehow its struggles have a way of making me feel right at home.
Early in our Christian journey, there is a fork in this road, with one way leading to Grace and the other to Independence. We are all called to obedience, but it is our choice to do it under our own strength, or with the power and grace of God. One way leads away from our God while the other pulls us in so close that obedience flows naturally out of our love and joy for the Lord. Sadly, I have to admit that you will more often find this traveller on the wrong road, mustering up her own strength to obey, only to trip and fall under the weight of it time and time again. But God… Our loving and patient Father reaches down and keeps picking me up. He keeps showing me that there is another way. His Way is the place where Obedience, Grace, Peace, Truth and Love come together. It is a path of sweet fellowship and He desires for me to stay with Him, to walk in peace, and let Him lead the way.
God’s Way is the way to freedom – the freedom that Christ died to bring us. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) It continually baffles and frustrates me, as I walk farther on this journey with God, that I know the way to freedom and choose again and again to stay in my chains. I long for the depth of fellowship with God that we are created to have and yet I keep wavering from His ways. I keep doing what I know will pull me away from the Lord I so love. I feel the frustration and I echo the words of the Apostle Paul: “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature, For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19)
What are we to do then, those of us who desire to love the Lord with all our hearts and who desire His Way, but are stuck in this continual war against our flesh? We keep walking, and we keep seeking, and we keep turning to Him, over and over and over again. And when we lose the way, we go out to our less than perfect yards, quiet our hearts and lift up our less than perfect lives to the only One who knows how to break the patterns of our ways. He will once again show us and lead us into His Way where we can have the desire of our hearts and walk in close fellowship again.
Holy Father, I know that my ways, are not Your ways, and my thoughts are not Your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8), but Father, I desire Your Way. I so love You and want the intimate fellowship You created us to have. I pray Lord that You will hold tight to this stubborn and wandering heart of mine, until you have moulded it to be like the gentle and humble heart of your Son. I give my life, as imperfect as it is, to You, for your Glory. Keep me on Your path. I ask this in the loving name of Jesus, amen.