It’s harder to keep the weight off than ever before. Sometimes my shoulder hurts. For the first time in my life, I was put on a prescription. My beard is increasingly grey and the hair on my head is gone (albeit that I help it along with a razor . . . why fight the inevitable?). In my 47th year, there are physical signs of aging. While I reject that there has to be pain or sickness just because of age, I do acknowledge that age brings some physical changes.
There are benefits to this season, as well. There is knowledge and insight that can only come with experience. Perhaps the greatest advantage is greater security than ever before. The temptation of striving to prove my worth or find my place diminishes year by year as insecurity gives way to knowing. The confidence that comes with a true sense of identity is invaluable and can be elusive for so many. If you could bottle it, you would make billions.
It’s really what we all need. We need to know that we belong. We need to know that our Dad has made a place for us and that He is pleased with us. We need to know that we are approved of and in good standing no matter what the results of our most recent performance suggest. We need the peace that accompanies a rest that is present no matter the circumstances or activity we are engaged in.
Industries are built around the manufacturing of short-term attempts to create an escape via cruise ships and tropical islands. We migrate to an oasis to insulate us from the stimulus that causes us anxiety and dream of what it would be to live like in such conditions. We rely on the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown or Bob Marley to take us to places that are different from the places we reside even if that journey is only in our mind in three to four-minute segments.
The problem with the trips or the music is the return to reality. It’s the not fall that gets you, but the sudden stop. The drastic contrast somehow highlights the temporal conditions we can become so distracted by. The shoulder aches and other reminders become primary in our vision of our reality.
The peace, tranquility, rest and even joy that are available on vacation are the intention for our everyday existence. Operating from those perspectives are not conditioned on our location, activity or music, but the sweet whisper of a Counselor who reminds us. He testifies not in a way audible to the physical ear, but Spirit to spirit. The reminder is so deep that it is inexplicable but you know when you know. Even when you know, the external distractions will try to overcome the Truth of the whisper and you’ll need a reminder, which is OK, because He is faithful to tell you again and again.
Do you hear Him?