God wraps his arms around you when you least expect it

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This post is part of my adventure series…click here to make sure you catch the whole series.

I have started writing this post three times so far this week! Maybe today will be the day it gets written 🙂

When I went away for my solitary retreat the other weekend I had an idea in my head about how I thought it might go and what I wanted to cover. But God had other ideas.

During the drive down to Jindabyne on Saturday morning I was feeling very stressed and agitated. My chest was tight. My head hurt. My mind was racing a million miles a minute and by the time I was two thirds there I was beginning to wonder exactly how productive the weekend was going to be if this was the state I was in.

When I checked into the chalet, I was still feeling more than a little cranky and I had pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to be able to get any thinking or writing done while I was so wound up. I figured I’d try to relax for the remainder of the day and get into things on Sunday morning. So I unpacked my gear and stacked the fridge with supplies and headed out for a walk. I didn’t even take my iPod, my head was too busy to even listen to music.

The resort has a network of sealed roads weaving through the grounds. Everything is beautifully signposted and it’s easy to see where you’re going and how long it’s going to take to get there. These roads were busy with walking couples and families and cars speeding by. These roads offered easy walking. But I didn’t want to be around people and feel like I had to smile and play nice. Lucky for me the resort also has a spiderweb of barely visible bush tracks that weave through the grounds. These are the tracks I decided to explore. They were difficult to navigate and in the early stages they were so hard to follow that I had to stop and think hard about which way to go. The tracks wandered through alpine fields and through stands of snow gums and through scrubby bushes by little creeks. Gorgeous scenery…but I  had no idea how long it was going to take me, I didn’t know if I was going to get messy, and to be honest, I didn’t care…I was out there to clear my head…if it took half an hour, GREAT…if it took two hours…GREAT..I didn’t care. And there was no way of knowing one way or the other anyway. I just knew I needed to walk.

As I walked I started to notice that even though I thought there wasn’t any way of knowing where I was going, there were markers along the way that were providing guidance. Some of them were little arrows on stakes in the ground that were easy to see. Some of them were the same little arrows that were hidden in clumps of grass. Some were wooden arrows hanging in trees that sort of wobbled as the wind blew, but still pointed generally in the right direction, and some of them were like the one in the photo…a big red arrow painted on the rock and completely unmistakable.

As I walked I realised that these little bush trails and the markers were an allegory for the adventure that I found myself on. I’m off the beaten trail, there are very few people on the same path, and I have no idea how long it will take me to get where I’m going. As I progress on my adventure there are (and will continue to be) markers along my path that are easy to see….there will be markers that are hidden in the weeds along the path that are only visible if you know what you are looking for, there are the signs that point the way, but are a bit wobbly, and finally there are the directions that are so firmly rooted in the Rock that they are unmistakable.

I would never have seen these markers had I stayed on the easy roads. I had to step away from the easy and the mainstream to follow what God has for me in the next little while. Both roads lead to the same endpoint, but only one path provides challenge and reliance on God-given direction.

At the point in my walk where I connected the dots and saw God’s confirmation of my adventure, my mind started to race even more. I was excited that God would meet me in my moment of chaos! My mind was racing in a whole new way, but as I walked I felt compelled to just stop. “Be still and know that I am God” was the only thing that occupied my thoughts.

I stood still. I quieted my mind. And I heard something that I was completely oblivious to before. I heard the sound of the river that was rushing over rocks beside me.  I know that sounds cheesy. And I hate cheesy. But the sense that God’s love was rushing over me and washing away the things that occupied my mind was overwhelming. It was a physical sensation of release and relaxation. I felt a warmth and a comfort that told me that I was completely on the right path. I felt as though I was in a warm embrace that said. I love you. You’re where I want you to be.

By the time I got back to the chalet I felt as though I had been on holiday for a week. I was blown away that God had chosen to meet me in my most chaotic moment. It was powerful and wonderful and affirming. My plans for my weekend were turned upside down in the most wonderful way. I’m right where I need to be right now.

Are you where God wants you to be?

Michelle

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10 responses to “God wraps his arms around you when you least expect it

  1. Amazing post-as I was reading your life, I was walking along with you. Totally there my friend. I have no idea where “this” is headed and I am scared too death that I am imagining the road, but somehow I keep feeling “moved” forward.

    • Hi Robin…moving forward is the key isn’t it? 🙂 There’s no standing still with God. You’re either moving forward or sliding backwards.
      Thanks for the retweet too 🙂

  2. Lynne Pezzullo

    Love this Michelle. Reading it in Heathrow London (transiting from Rome). Had the most amazing challenges this work/holiday that have really revealed God’s hand at each and every turn. Totally awesome. ‘There’s a lot of your life that’s yet to live.” Woo hoo. What’s around the corner? What’s next?

    • Hi Lynne! I hope you and Sam are having a great trip! Thanks for stopping in to visit my blog while you’re away 🙂 Great to hear that God is guiding you on your trip…so nice to have that sense of continuity even when we’re away from home.

  3. Thrilled for you Michelle -the tension of escitement and ‘scarey’ that comes when you know God is leading you, but you don’t know where, for how long, or what. Keep walking the path – let God reveal the next market to you – He sees the beginning from the end, and knows what is around the corner.

    Blessings

  4. Ahhh. Be still and know that I am God. Is there a better verse for this journey we are on? Love your post and the meaning you found in the little arrows. Thanks for being a little arrow for me, too!

  5. Pingback: There’s a track winding back to an old fashioned shack «

  6. Hey Mick
    I too was challenged by that book The Shack. Isn’t God good to break into our preconceptions and show us a glimpse of Himself…I especially appreciated the “Mother, nurturing” side that the allegory portrayed. God really does KNOW me, the dark recesses that I keep hidden from peope, the fears and the joys, And into the hurts he pours His Shalom. Keep following the markers, it is exciting, can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you next. Love you (Mum)

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