One of our favorite things to do over the summer is rent a beach house on the Jersey shore. This summer was no different.
Now that the kids are older, we like to ride bikes together. What better time to do that than on vacation? At the shore, there are fewer cars on the road than at home. The scenery is beautiful, plus, it is such a delight to hear the seagulls overhead and feel the salty air on our faces as we ride. Sometimes we’d ride around the block with nowhere to go, other times to dinner or to the local ice cream shop.
My husband and I have been running together in the weeks leading up to our trip. We didn’t want to get out of our new routine so one afternoon we decided to forgo the bike and run along side the kids. It sounds more picturesque than it actually is. The kids ride their bikes way faster than we run. We often have to yell at them to slow down, watch where they are going, or remind to stop at the stop sign. They get frustrated with us for not running faster and we get frustrated with them for not slowing down. Ahh… summer memories being made.
I somehow ended at the back of the pack; I was being left in the dust by my children on their bikes and my husband who was suppose to be running “with me”. Halfway through the run, my oldest daughter decided to hang back and keep me company. I was especially grateful because it was a hot day and I wasn’t running well. I enjoyed both the company and the conversation. We talked about her favorite parts of our week together and what she wanted to do with the rest of her summer. It was really nice to have the one on one time together.
The longer we were together the more my little girl opened up.
So often, I don’t slow down long enough to truly deepen my relationship with the Holy Spirit, the one that was sent to help me and guide me into truth. (John 16:5–15)
I do morning devotions, listen to inspiring podcasts, and worship with music in my car. These are all good things, but many days I am not slowing down enough to take the day’s journey with the Holy Spirit as my guide. I race ahead to the thing, the next task. I try to catch up with everyone else, to do what others are doing online or in real life. I get busy. I leave His presence behind because I know we will eventually catch up.
When that happens, I miss out on the still small voice of God sharing His heart with me. I miss His direction in a situation that may require more knowledge I have. I miss the comfort He offers when my feelings get hurt or I’m disappointed.
My 11 year old could have rode past me, blown a few kisses, and caught up with her siblings, knowing that she would see me later when we got back to the house, but she didn’t. Instead, she chose to spend that time along side me.
Yes, she peddled a little more slowly than her natural pace, but I am so happy she did because I enjoyed hearing what she wants to do for her birthday, which friends she wishes she was closer too (and can we please ask them for a play date?), and why she loves her new haircut so much. She recognized an opportunity to share the things that were on her heart. In turn, I was able to encourage her and reaffirm her value and worth by listening.
This isn’t’ the first time I am learning this lesson on lingering, however this time I am learning it in a new way. Deepening my relationship with my Heavenly Father is not just about staying in a singular moment but about letting Him journey alongside me. Becoming attuned to the Holy Spirit is developed when I am not afraid to slow down and come along side Him to talk and listen throughout my day.
This will take some practice, but also grace to not to race ahead, but pace myself in ride each day takes me on.