Journaling, Spiritual Growth

Pitching My Tent 


I sighed.

“Back to reality,” I said as we turned off the highway and down the road that led to our house. The car stopped and Hawk shot a look over to me, “Reality is real life. It’s our life.” The way he said it stuck with me. I thought it over as we passed the green fields, the cows in the pasture taking refuge from the sun in the pond and under the shady trees. It wasn’t the beach, where we had just returned, but it was home.

I was already feeling the post vacation woes, reflecting on a week of no responsibility, a week of no work –  a week of adventuring and exploring, and walking on the beach, sunning, relaxing, talking, laughing and catching up with extended family, some of which I hadn’t seen in almost two years.

Reality is life, as Hawk reminded me. It sticks with me still, pondering his words. I do love our life. I love our real life. I love passing those cows every morning as I head out, I love pulling into our driveway and admiring our home – our home that we worked hard for, a home for us and our one day future family. I love how Hawk grabs me and gives me a kiss when he comes in from work and how we sometimes silly dance in the kitchen and I break out into giggles.

Even though I was missing the unstructured time at the beach and unlimited quality time with those I love, I had to admit we have a very blessed reality. We have a beautiful life together.

For the past month, my soul has been mulling over the concept of dwelling and what it means to dwell with God. My phone’s lock screen reads:

One thing I ask

One thing I seek

To dwell with Him

All the days of my life,

~ Psalm 27

According to Strong’s definition, dwell (yashab) means to endure, abide, establish, marry, give dwelling to, remain, settle, tarry, to remain for someone, expect someone.
abide-bible-journalingI’ve been wrestling with what it looks like to dwell, to abide with Him in real life. In the daily reality.

A Sunday at the beach gave me a glimpse.

A group of us decided to ride bikes downtown. On our way back, I broke away from everyone else, speeding down the sidewalk a good distance from the others. As the sun pressed down and the humid breeze rushed past, I pressed on forward, legs pumping and tires humming. Faster and faster as sweat began to roll off my face. My legs burned and I felt good, rediscovering the somewhat once athletic girl deep within.

In that moment, it was me and God – just the two of us. I felt myself slowly unwinding. I found worship in that moment being in His creation and in His presence. As I pedaled with determination, I threw my head back feeling the air on my face and couldn’t help but think that maybe He was smiling at my childish delight.

It was a Sabbath moment. A dwelling moment. A resting moment.

Yet how does one achieve that in reality? Where pressures and stressors and responsibilities thrive?

Before this vacation, I was in a state of being worn. Just flat out tired. Burned out. Exhausted. And the week away was wonderful. I found rest, renewal, rejuvenation. But now that I’m back in my routine I feel the weariness slowly creep in again.

I want to abide. I want to dwell. Yet how do I get there? What does it look like to truly dwell with God?

Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling – all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace. – Lysa Terkeurst

One thing that I am being continually challenged and inspired with is the fact that our God is the initiator. How glad I am that salvation and a relationship with Him isn’t dependent on me. He is the initiator and no matter how many times I let my priorities get out of line, or my heart wooed and wounded by the world, and even in those moments where I’ve honestly just flat out chosen to ignore Him, He remains with His hand extended.

The phrase dwelt also means “to fix a tent.” Jesus came to earth and dwelt (pitched His tent) among us, His creation. The concept of dwelling is important to Him. So important that He came, made flesh, to be with His people. See, relationship is everything to Him. He promises and pursues and woos and chases. Longing for His people to pitch their tents next to His.

I feel like His Word, His heart on page, time and time again conveys His desire for us:

Come dwell with Me. Come spend time with Me. Come know I AM. Come know Me. Settle down and rest in My Presence. Remain with Me a while. Tarry in My Holy Midst. Tarry and expect Me.

In Hebrews, His Word says He rewards those who seek Him. In Deuteronomy, it says You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart. In Psalms, it says My heart says of you ‘Seek His Face.’ Your Face, Lord, I will seek.

The definition of seek (baqash) is to search out, strive after, ask, beg, beseech, desire, require, seek to find, seek to secure, seek the face. I find that the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldea Lexicon adds a powerful aspect to the meaning – “the primary power appears to be that of touching, feeling, search for my touching.”

It is amazing to me that He not only invites us to seek Him, but He allows us to find Him!  He allows us to touch Him. To know Him. Our God is knowable. Our God is approachable. And how He desires for us to respond to His offer of intimacy. He’s always making the first move. He allows Himself and even wills Himself to be sought, to be touched, to be secured, because He longs to marry our souls and hearts to His. To be known by God and to know God.

When we seek God, when we look for Him and strive after Him and expect Him, and search for His touching – we grasp out and take hold of the hand He has extended. The hand that will pull our hearts deeper into His. The hand that will stretch us and move us and show us His Face.

I’m still learning about this concept of dwelling and abiding. I have a feeling it will be a lifelong process. In the meantime though, I’m starting here. I’m starting with being and seeking and expecting. I’m pitching my tent in His Presence. I’m sitting at His table. I’m opening up His Word. I’m looking to Him in expectation. And I’m letting Him pour me a glass of that beautiful and satisfying thing He calls Living Water.

Let’s seek His Face. Let’s search after His heart. And let’s find Him.

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