I stepped out into the brisk cold of a Minnesota winter. The snow was silently falling in tiny flakes, and aside from the occasional car driving passed, the city was fairly still. Not bad for a random Wednesday afternoon.
It has started earlier, back in my hotel room after returning from a morning learning more about some of the inner workings of our grain-trading partner and visiting their headquarters for a tour. We’d returned to the hotel, my farmer and me, and our farmer friends, to regroup and decide what the afternoon held. Sam looked at me, as we tossed around options and said, “What are you going to do?”
Good question. There was a lot to do. The new online store is up and running, and there are 25+ products to post on the site for sale. Plus, almost no one knows about it, because I’ve yet to put together the marketing campaign to get the word out. My laptop sat on the desk of the room next to me, lit up and waiting. What WAS I going to do?
I’m learning to do that, more often and more consistently. To pause and quietly check in with my counselor friend, the promised Spirit. Because that’s what He’s there for. Because it matters – to me, and to Him.
What am I going to do today, Jesus?
Where do you want me, Lord?
And then I pause again. It’s not so complicated as I want to make it. It’s not so flashy or strange as I’ve seen it portrayed at times. There’s no dark corner of the hotel I slink to meet with Jesus. There’s no loud declaration of devotion and praise and hallelujah at the top of the hotel lobby stairs. It’s not about flare and flash and flesh. It’s just a simple, steady leaning in.
It’s just relationship.
7 “Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.[f]Matthew 7:7-11 TPT
9 “Do you know of any parent who would give his hungry child, who asked for food, a plate of rocks instead? 10 Or when asked for a piece of fish, what parent would offer his child a snake instead? 11 If you, imperfect as you are,[g]know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts[h] to those who ask him?”
Stop and ask. Wait and see.
Then keep going.
My mind raced through the options available to me; all the pros and cons and expectations and potential schedules. For a moment, those last two weighed me down. Our trip was paid for by someone else; what did they expect of me? We are traveling with other farmers, intent on gathering as much information and form and strengthen relationships with partners. What would they think if I didn’t participate in that? For a few moments, the options and potentials tumbled through my brain.
There was a time when those potential ramifications would have frozen me solid, more so than the cold Minnesota ground. But not today.
Now I’m seeking; waiting on Jesus’ wisdom and his Spirit’s whisper.
It’s also not as big of a deal as we humans try to make it.
Elijah went to the mountaintop seeking God. And yet God wasn’t found in the raging wind or the earthquake or the fire. He was found in the small stillness. God is a God of communication – the Creator who spoke and it was. And it was GOOD. He exists in relationship and so we are made for it to; most especially relationship with HIM. He’s made a way and left a counselor to guide and teach and lead us.
So I wait for a moment and I seek. And all the expectations and the items on my “to do” list fade away. My eyes are drawn to the view out our window: the cityscape. It’s 24 degrees , crisp and cold. And it calls to me loud.
“I’m going to explore.”
Sometimes knocking is just that: moving to the door in front of you and rat-a-tat-tatting against it to see if it opens. For me, that was putting my coat on, bundling up, pulling up a map on my phone and setting out.
This is freedom. It sounds counter-intuitive in our independent, DIY culture.
Dependence is freedom.
I can be one hell of a slave driver, especially if I’m the slave that’s being driven. When I listen to the voice of expectation, of insecurity, and of fear, I’m weighted down with all of it. When I ask, seek and knock on the door of God, it’s always so much better.
That Wednesday afternoon, that’s what it was about. More than DOING all the things I thought NEEDED to be done, the compulsion was to “go.” Instead of a task-list of responsibility and productivity, I was given freedom to explore; to enjoy. To do something new and different and simply explore the place I was in.
And it was glorious.
Minneapolis has the longest contiguous sky-bridge networks in the world. When your winter is forever frozen, you compensate. I wandered from building to building, finding the hustle and bustle of the city to be alive and welling the inner winding path. Shops and people and department stores full and warm and welcoming. The IDS Tower features an open plaza with a three-story water feature and a Christmas tree almost as big. I took my time and I made my way in a way that this 30-something Mom-of-3 rarely gets to do.
What a gift, Jesus.
Thank you for my freedom. For the freedom to be dependent on the One who knows what’s better for me, so much better than I do. Thank you for the freedom to explore life, this relationship with you, with others, and with myself.
It’s worth it. Jesus is worth it.
Dependence is worth it. It’s hard work, and it’s a lot of listening and trial and error, and diving deep and spending time and getting to know and recognize the Voice of the Shepherd, but it’s so so worth it.
Freedom is worth it.