(By Christina Gagnon)
For nearly fifteen years we’ve walked closely together, some seasons closer than others. We sat at the picnic table and she shared with me plans for her upcoming trip home. As always, I sat enrapt. Sometime over the last few years, I discovered I had a voice, and that afternoon I put it to use. “I guess one of these days I’ll just have to invite myself.” She stared at me full a minute, absolutely shocked before she replied, “But I’ve asked you every single summer to come.”
“I never heard it.” Once we worked past our shock, we shared a good laugh together about how easily miscommunication, and mixed messages, and insecurities can get in the way, even among close friends, and then started planning together.
I still am amused at how long it took me to hear the invitation from my friend to visit her childhood home. But it put me in mind of something much more serious. How often do I miss God’s invitations to me? Growing up, fear and insecurity left me shattered and mistrustful, not only could I not hear God’s invitations, I also couldn’t hear His assurances. Fear and insecurity still plug my ears now, but there are other things, somewhat more insidious things that plug my ears: busyness, distractions, work, study, friends, tiredness, disappointment, disbelief, lack of motivation. Some of these things, like work and friends and study, are good things, necessary things, but not when they come before God’s invitation to just sit with Him awhile.
“Every time I feel the Spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.” Our Father presents us with so many, many opportunities, even daily, for us to come apart and spend time with Him. Just Him. Too often, however, I let these things distract me from hearing His invitation. Too many times, I choose fear and insecurity and doubt over the calm assurance that I am accepted in the Beloved, that my Father delights over me with singing, that I can come boldly before the throne of His grace with confidence, that He wants to be with me. What if every time I felt the Spirit moving in my heart I did actually pray? I’m not talking about a religious sentiment, or even a spiritual discipline, although that is important. I mean, as a dearly loved child called by her daddy, as a woman called by her spouse, what difference would it make in my life if I heard and responded positively to the invitations of my God?
Click below to hear "In The Garden."