Earlier this week, Lucas and I took a little walk after we dropped the girls to school. His little legs meant the pace was much slower than I'd naturally go - so I had to adjust my step somewhat, and as we ambled along he became fascinated with all the little flowers growing alongside the path. He would bend down and pick himself a daisy and carry on. He did this countless times. But I began to notice something - as he approached a new patch of flowers, he would look at what he had in his hands and decide whether to hold on to it, or whether to let it go and pick up something new. Not once did he try to hold on to multiple flowers - he seemed to instinctively recognise what his chubby little fingers were capable of carrying.
And as I watched him, I felt the whisper of the Holy Spirit telling me that I could learn a lot from my lil' guy.
Sometimes we push ourselves too hard and too fast. We place expectations on ourselves that even God is not asking of us. And because of this, we can miss the beauty, the gifts that He has for us along the way.
Sometimes we just want to try and have it all at once. We want to keep picking up, but we don't want to put anything down.
This whole year has been a lesson for me in slowing down - in learning to embrace rest and create margin. Some of it has been forced upon me - continued sleep deprivation has meant that I just don't have my normal capacity. I have had to learn to adjust my step and slow the pace. But much of it has been very deliberate. A conscious decision to re-evaluate what matters and to ask God what He might want to say to me. To seek His priorities for this season of my life and to consider what He wants me to put down and to pick up.
And with this slowing down; with this adjusting of the internal position of my heart, I have had a deeper revelation of just how much God values relationship with His children. Of how much He longs for me to just come and sit at His feet - for me to give Him my attention, but also to allow Him to give me His.
Christ's words to Mary have taken on new and fresh meaning for me:
There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."
Jesus cannot be taken from us. No matter what we find ourselves walking through; no matter what we have to choose to let go of - or even what we might feel has been plucked from our hands - He remains. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is with us and He is for us.
I don't know what your year has held, but I imagine it has been much like mine - filled with things you're celebrating, marked by things that have grieved and disappointed you. It has been made up of a little extraordinary, and a lot of being faithful in the ordinary and every day. And He has been with you through all of it. You might not have always felt like it, but He has never left your side. And He never will.
Because just as He cannot be taken from you, you cannot be taken from Him.
My sheep respond as they hear My voice; I know them intimately, and they follow Me. I give them a life that is unceasing, and death will not have the last word. Nothing or no one can steal them from My hand.
The Creator of the Universe holds you in His hand. He knows you intimately. And His heart is that you would allow Him to lead you in ways that fill you with His life.
So as we race towards Christmas and the end of another year, don't be afraid to slow the pace; to take a little amble and survey the landscape of your life. Be confident that God has good things prepared and waiting for you in every stage and season of your life - but to pick them up, you might have to be prepared to release the things that belong to another chapter; to relax your tight grip and open your hand to receive the treasures that He is holding out to you right now.
Enjoy picking up the daisies along the way!
Live today with purpose,
P.S. Don't forget the Christmas devotional starts this Monday - join us as we capture the wonder of Emmanuel, God with us.
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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