“My lover said to me, ‘Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air. The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!’” Song of Songs 2:10-13
Lately I’ve found myself sitting outside for lengths of time, sans phone, book, drawing materials or company. My refuge is a rusty wrought iron bench which nestles snugly under a giant oak. In the quiet I find my senses are coming alive again. I stare at the clouds floating by for hours, and I find great amusement watching my cats dart in and out of rows of lavender bushes as they stalk imaginary prey. The scent of sweet orange blossoms wafts through the air, an aroma more exquisite than the finest perfume. The skies are bursting with the melodies of countless birds calling out to one another as they enthusiastically prepare for the arrival of the next generation. For the first time in years, their song is unimpeded by the noisiness of humanity.
The normal sounds and activities of hurried living have been temporarily halted, and in the void I sense God’s glorious invitation calling us to stillness. Not an empty sort of stillness, though at first it can feel that way. Busyness and distraction dull our ability to hear, to receive, to be present to whatever is happening in the moment. Instead it’s a stillness that spreads out like a picnic blanket, inviting us into a peaceful and beautiful place of refreshment and intimacy. A gentle call back to our first Love.
Ironically, I’ve had to fight feeling guilty for my lack of productivity. But even my struggle to assuage this guilt has been met with a beautiful awareness of the Lord’s mercy. This time of quietness has also become a place of repentance and recalibration as God has gently revealed how much of what I do is (still) driven by my internal need to be productive, help people, please people, and earn His approval. Deep sigh. How I long to live more consistently in the freedom and fullness of life He designed for me. I wholeheartedly desire the same for you. That we would learn to walk freely and lightly, moving in sync with the voice of Holy Spirit, and according to Jesus’ agenda.
In case I’ve painted a picture of my life that’s reminiscent of a Renoir garden party, you should probably know I’m sheltering in place with a hubby that isn’t good at being stuck at home and with both of my college-aged kids who recently moved back in to wait out the pandemic. Life is full and noisy. There isn’t a moment of the day where I am alone in the house. On top of it all, I don’t think I’ve cooked this much in the last twenty years … and did I mention that cooking is not my thing? There are some days that whizz by (especially if they don’t start until noon), and my heart has barely turned toward the Lord.
But on more days than not, I find I’m stealing away to that old rusty bench. The draw of His love is irresistible. In the stillness, He is calling, inviting us to know Him and experience Him in a much more intimate way. He has a beautiful, wide-open and safe place prepared for you. My prayer is you’ll still your heart, listen, and rise up to meet with the greatest Love you’ll ever know.
About the Author
Cindy Kizanis, M.A. MFT, Doctor of Intercultural Studies, is a coach, motivational speaker, and adjunct professor of Marriage and Family. She has been encouraging, teaching, leading and equipping women for over 25 years.