Last week, we explored a new lake…because about a year ago, Brad decided to creatively make one of my dreams come true when he bought us a little boat. It's a Sea Eagle inflatable motor boat. He calls it our gateway boat, but I think he low-key loves how it matches his Jason Bourne persona….
We only had Selah with us that particular day, and she wanted to go fast and wild. Imagine her disappointment when we saw exactly two other boats the whole time, and one was quietly fishing. The water was as smooth as glass. The wind was calm, and wildlife was resting in the heat of the day. It was so still that we stopped to admire how shocking the reflection was on the water. You could see details in the cloud reflection; each tree was almost a replica.
This week, I ran away with Brad on a business trip. You may not have noticed, but I haven't written much lately- at least, nothing I am ready to share. One day, I may dive into what this year has been for me, but for now, I will tell you that I came with him because I need a reset. I needed to leave my house and its responsibilities. I needed to spend time alone--in a quiet place so I could be still and breathe without life's constant expectations.
Even though we are staying at a casino in Reno a few nights, I assumed it would be easy to find a quiet place outside where I could ponder. I tucked myself into the most isolated shaded spot near the pool and popped in my earbuds. I played instrumental music on noise canceling, but 5 hours into it and a screaming headache later, I called time of death. There was too much noise. Nothing I tried stood a chance to drown out the chaos.
Today, I asked Brad to drop me off at a park near a pond on his way to work. There are mountains surrounding me; it's chilly enough that I need a jacket. Sweet people out walking their dogs; ducks, and geese in the water. I can hear my thoughts. I can be still.
Here's the truth I discovered: There will be places, where no matter how hard we try or what we do to counter the culture around us, we won't be able to hear the still small voice.
We are going to need to move. Until we admit that the noise of our situation is beyond our control, chaos will win out.
As I sat and sipped my coffee, laughing at the playfulness of nature around me, my eyes were drawn to the pond. There is a breeze, and all the creatures are hunting for breakfast. The reflections of the mountains, trees, and buildings are very much seen, but the ripple effects of the environment make the reflection blurry.
1 Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
Now we only see a reflection…have I ever stopped and considered that my view is limited and skewed?
In Revelation 4:6, John describes his vision of Heaven and the throne of God. He is overwhelmed with the majesty and beauty. At the end, he adds a little observation: "Also, in front of the throne, there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal."
Why? Could God have a reflecting pool at His feet? Is the reflection crystal clear because nothing can blur or distort His glory?
As I watched the environment of the pond before me affect the reflection of the trees, I thought back to how different the clarity was during our day on the lake. When I pondered both in light of the scripture from 1 Corinthians, a fascinating truth became clear. If we allow the environment around us to determine the reflection we accept of ourselves, we will spend our lives with an utterly jacked-up view of who God created us to be. Our identity will be blurry and distorted. We will see flaws instead of an accurate reflection of His glory woven into us. If we never recognize how loud and chaotic things have become, if we pop an Aleve to deal with the headache warning, we will ignore the pull of our spirit to slip away and be still. Ultimately, we will miss the opportunity to see ourselves as we were created. Our earthly eyes will deceive us. We will live our lives accepting and assuming beautiful things about us are incredibly flawed.
"He leads me by still waters, and He restores my soul." (Psalm 23:2b-3a)
Are we allowing ourselves to be led? Or are we throwing excuses and putting Him off? Telling Him to hang on, let us finish this or that; checking the quiet-time box, but rushing and being distracted?
Is that why our souls are dry and thirsty?
I am not saying we are never going to be knee-deep in chaos or even that the chaos is terrible. I actually thrive in chaos. However, we will navigate the chaos with a faulty identity if we don't carve out time to be led beside still waters where He restores our soul each day. Glance down at that reflection, be quiet a hot minute and let Him talk to us about How He sees us, how He designed us, like a Good Father who loves to brag on His kids.
Insecurity, self-loathing, anxiety, comparison, fear, hopelessness, discouragement, and depression are just a few of the beliefs and agreements we make based on blurry reflections. God shows us the importance of love woven throughout eleven verses leading up to the revelation of sin goggle's limited view. God's love is how we counter this lack of vision. Love is how we can see things as they are, more clearly.
Take a morning walk with Jesus beside still waters every day. Let Him point out details in your reflection you have yet to notice. Let His love patiently and gently show you things that need repairs; let Him quietly restore your soul. Then, deal with your chaos as a stronger, more confident person. Walk out daily expectations secure in your identity, and let that refreshing drink of living water empower you to thrive.