Get quiet to hear God, slow down to enjoy what God has made

The second Highland Lake with Mount Hiran looming above
"You work too hard." That's what I heard God saying in my heart as I hiked above Highland Lakes in the high Sierras. I was able to hear God talking more clearly than usual because I was on a two-day silent retreat. No distractions. No one else to talk to. No books from my extensive library.  Just long, unhurried conversations with God. In the silence, I was able to perceive his still, small voice.

By the way, that is the longest I have ever been silent, and it's the most concentrated retreat I have taken to date. I highly recommend a retreat like this. It was a game-changer for me.

The first afternoon, I was headed from the top of a ridge to a spot on a neighboring ridge so I could get a panoramic view of the valley where I was camping. I am an achievement-oriented person, so I got focused on getting from point A to point B. I marched forward and started climbing up the ridge. God said, "You work too hard. You need to enjoy the journey."

I'm not all that good at enjoying the journey. Not on hikes and not in life. I want to see results. My wife has said to me many times, "It's a journey. Try to enjoy the process." I have yet to really get that.

On that ridge, it was God saying similar things (it's uncanny how often God ends up saying the same things as my wife). "Slow down. I want you to be with me." So, midway between point A and point B, I slowed down. I looked around. I listened. And that's when I was bowled over by God's love.

Every so often I would hear God say in my heart, "Look over here. I want to show you something." I gazed at the redness of pine needles on the ground. I marveled at the yellows, oranges, and violets in the dainty wild flowers that bloomed all over the ridges and valleys. I stopped to notice a grove of trees that were growing out of a nearly vertical rock slide under the face of a nearby peak. I listened to the singing of the birds and the light-hearted burbling of tiny alpine streams.

I love nature, but there in the mountains, alone with him, I gained new insight into God as Creator. I felt his great pleasure in what he has made. What is more, I believe he was saying, "Eons ago, when I created these mountains, I looked forward with delight to the day I could show it to you."

Think about that. God creates an entire universe. And he cares enough about you and me that he can't wait to show it to us! He's not just a Creator. He's a loving Father.

BTW, I did make it up that ridge... and to the top of Mount Hiram above it. :-)
(Next time I post, I want to write about the central spiritual truth God made clear to me while I was on this retreat. It has shifted my perspective about life with him.)


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