the same

The same God you encountered in the mountains this week is the same God who is going home with you.

That’s what we told high school students after returning from their 6-day backpacking trip. 

I said that exact sentence. And I believed it.

For them.

But when it comes to my own heart, my own life, my own circumstances, I compartmentalize God. I have a Colorado box, for how I expect to interact with him there. A Texas box, for how I expect we would interact at home. And a “I’m in a different country box”, which is pretty self-explanatory.

I’m really good at speaking truth to people and believing with all my heart that it’s true for them. That it 100% applies to their life no. matter. what. But what good does that do if I’m not believing it for myself? If I’m not living what I’m saying?

The first time I stepped foot on Wilderness Ranch property, it earned a special place in my heart. I experienced a side of my God that I had never seen before, a side that’s sometimes hard to access in the normal grind of daily life. It was beautiful and I was hooked.

I came home and circumstances were different. Work was hard, relationships were hard, life events happened that broke my heart. I longed to go back to the place where I had seen my God so clearly. And in my longing, I think I’ve missed that same God right next to me.

This year, Colorado was different. 

There were different people and new places.

But one thing was the same: my God.

Not the same as in cookie-cutter responses or plans. My God is unbelievably personal. But same as in His character, His power, His ability, His love.

Leaving Colorado this time, my heart was as full… possibly more full… than it’s ever been leaving the mountains. And I believe with all my heart that it’s because for a little while, I chose to let go of my boxes. I chose to let God be who He is regardless of our circumstances. I chose to believe that the same God I encounter at Wilderness, is really.. really the same exact God with the same exact power and the same exact character no. matter. what.

I create boxes because it gives me comfort in the unknown. It’s my attempt to control. To know what’s coming. And all I’ve gotten in return is discouragement and frustration. As much as I try to control, I don’t know what I don’t know. And you can bet that I don’t know what next week is going to look like, much less next year.

God does not fit in my timeline. He does not fit in my mind. He does not fit in my box.

So I’m opening the lid to my box, and as I do my heart begins to soften and open along with it.

…………….

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?  – Psalm 139:7

Advertisements

mountains of majesty

I’ve been back from Colorado for a week, and this afternoon is the first time I feel capable of starting to write about what happened.

There were no huge events, no giant breakthroughs, no life-altering answers to questions. But there was stirring. God showed up in the mountains like he has so many times before.

Other times his voice has been loud and unmistakeable. What made me fall in love with my Father more this trip was the soft and quiet, yet still unmistakeable way he spoke.

He drew me in to listen and bid me to pay attention to the details, to the small things, to the gifts he would give me each day. He invited me to himself, and for once I was willing to sit and be still instead of Him having to chase me down. For once, I allowed what God says about me to be more true than the value I receive from the world based on what I accomplish.

I’ve taken my time processing through this trip to Colorado. I’m spending time trying to delve deeper into ideas instead of moving on to the next thing. I’m typically the type of person who needs to have things figured out. It makes me anxious if there’s a thought or feeling rolling around and I don’t know where it belongs. But one of the gifts God gave me the past two weeks is the freedom to have peace in the midst of not having everything figured out.

So, I’m writing this today and I don’t have everything figured out. I believe that God is healing my heart and reshaping how I view life in significant ways, but how exactly that’s going to play out? I’m not sure yet.

But the one thing I have begun to grasp on a heart level is that God is limitless where I am limited. He is incomparable to anything my mind can comprehend. He is the Creator, and he is perfectly sovereign over his people. He does not abandon.

photo 1

As I sat on the porch of our cabin reading J.I. Packer’s Knowing God and staring at the mountains, there was one word that stuck in my mind:

Majesty.

For me, the mountains are a place where creation is clearly crying out the majesty, the greatness, of God.

When I think about how mountains came into being, how altitude changes oxygen concentration, how mountain goats can scale the side of a cliff and how the Continental Divide pushes river flow east and west, I can only praise God’s greatness.

I can not comprehend how all of these things came to be. I can understand them now, as they exist, but I did not think them up. God is great. I am small.

I am created. I do not have the power to breathe life.

But, He is the author of all life.

And sitting in the middle of the mountains, which scream God’s greatness, I am humbled to realize that I have such small thoughts of my Creator.

I’m humbled to realize that in an effort to understand an incomprehensible God, I have been comparing his abilities to my own.

I’m humbled to realize my belief that God has abandoned me, and how I have dishonored the King who cares perfectly for his people.

I’m humbled to realize that I too often base who God is off my circumstances, and not off what He says about himself.

And I’m humbled to realize that despite all of that, He still calls me to himself and speaks gently to me.

All of creation, the nations, world rulers, the stars- they are nothing compared to Him.

When I allow God to be who he is- incomparable, a perfect King in greatness and intimacy, limitless in power- I have peace in the midst of not having it all figured out.

I don’t want to follow a god I can understand. That is no god worth giving my life to.

I want to follow a God who knows the intricate details of how my body was created and functions. Who created the stars and calls them out by name. Who was before all things and holds all creation together.

I want to follow a God called Majesty.