As a kid, I spent a lot of time walking in the woods. Fall was my favorite season because the forest seemed to come to life. As a cool breeze blew through the treetops, you heard the sound of leaves shaking as they twisted in the wind. Below the canopy, the ground under my feet also came alive. The fallen leaves danced and blew about like they were a part of a choreographed show just for me. In the distance, I could hear a deer running or a squirrel busy gathering acorns for the coming winter cold. As the sun shined through the trees, there were beams of light so bright it looked as if God had opened heaven to take a quick look. It was often so beautiful that a picture or painting of the scene would not have done it justice. The fragrances floating through the air were a mix of freshly fallen leaves and the sweet smell of early morning rain. I would often sit on an old fallen oak tree and take it all in. For me, it was an escape from all my struggles as a teenager trying to find his place in this world. The world stopped, and I would take the opportunity to talk to God and lay all my troubles at his feet. I miss those walks in the woods.
I was reading Mark 1:35-37 a few weeks ago, and I could not help but think of how important it is for us to intentionally get away and connect with God. I'm not telling you to sell everything and live in your van. I am saying that in doing so, we are imitating Jesus. If he needed to get away, recharge, and connect, we do too. We live in a world where everyone is looking for us and needs something from us, like the disciples in Mark's gospel. So when they find us, they say “everyone is looking for you.” To which we think, I need to find a better hiding space. My challenge to you is to take a walk in the woods, even if it is only in your mind. Shut down the static of your world and spend some time with your heavenly father. He wants to hear from you and spend time with you. Remember, whatever you put on pause to make this happen will be there when you return. Seeking him daily will allow you to be familiar with his voice and find peace in his presence.
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