Last fall I took a bike trip. A friend and I rode 225 miles on the Katy Trail. We followed the Missouri river, the path Lewis and Clark took on their exploration of the west. This kind of experience encompasses many of the things I love. I love being in nature with a good friend.
The first day we planned to cover thirty-eight miles before we stopped. You would think that as I rode, I would have noticed the beauty around me.
I am a get-it-done kind of girl.
My eyes were glued to a little gadget on my bike. This little computer tracks my mileage and speed…I was so focused on how far and how fast I was going that I missed most of the scenery along the way.
The following morning I sat down and wrote these words in my journal:
Today I want to notice. I do not want to focus on the miles or how many people I can pass. I want to look all around me and see the trees in all their glory. I want to notice the clouds and feel the wind on my face. I want to listen to the river. I do not want to see these elements as obstacles I have to conquer. I want to see the beauty of it all. Beauty draws us in and I want to see God in the beauty of everything this day brings. God is hiding in plain sight and I miss Him because I am blinded by my own need to get things done.
The rest of the trip I did my best to take my own advice and notice the beauty around me. I had a lovely time.
Then I came home to mounds of laundry, a pile of permission slips, and arguing children. All my good intentions went out the window. My everyday life can be very busy and stressful. How do I look for God in the hidden places in the midst of a busy life?
Pay attention to the moment:
This requires looking where I am right now and not worrying about tomorrow. I know this is easier said than done. I was able to notice the beauty from my bike when I did not worry about the miles ahead.
It is the same with life. When I start worrying about what I need to get done today, tomorrow, and next week, I miss the beauty of what is in front of me. I miss seeing God.
So take a deep breath and notice all that is around you. Allow yourself a small moment to see God in what is in front of you.
Be grateful for what you see.
Even if it is overwhelming or hard.
When I was riding my bike uphill in the rain I wanted to wish that moment away. I wanted get to the flat easy trail.
It is the same with life. We want to wish away the difficult or annoying moments in our lives.
I want to try to be grateful for my right-now life. I want to be grateful the midst of messy counters, sullen teenagers, piano playing, and opening the mail.
Pausing and giving thanks is how we live in harmony with our circumstances and each other.
This does not mean life will be perfect. Life is anything but perfect.
It does mean that I can hold it loosely and give it all to God.
When I pay attention to the moment and am grateful for it, I can hear this life I have. I can stop going through it like an obstacle course, where each new challenge has to be conquered and done well.
I can breathe deeply and learn that what is before me is enough. It is an unclenching of my tight fists and letting God’s grace take control.
I can see God in the hidden places.
So I am trying by His grace to look for Him in the not so perfect, the mess that is my daily life.
I want to savor and sink into it, the now. Because one thing I do know. This moment is fleeting. Kids will grow up, counters will stay clean, and relationships will change. But God never changes and He is here with us in our everyday lives.
We just need to look for Him.