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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Dust'em Off!

“Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Zechariah 1:3 (NIV)

This week I am tired… so very, very tired.

Nothing is bad or wrong, in fact much is going exceptionally well, so what’s the issue?

It doesn’t take much reflection to know I’ve been running hard and fast most of the summer. Our new home has been a wonderful revolving door of great friends and family, the new job continues to stretch me in fantastic ways, and we’ve taken every opportunity possible to explore the landscape of Michigan while the sun is shining. It’s been great but exhausting, and as I step into a hectic ministry season, I’m aware of doing so on an empty tank.

What do I do?

The truth is, I know what’s needed -- a good long hike in the woods.

Connecting with God in nature is what centers me and if I go to long without these interactions I feel tired and weary on a soul level.

While the outdoor space of my new home is a beautiful sanctuary to experience God, it is not the same as hiking with him, which I’ve not done in over a year. It’s emotional to even type those words because it means I’ve neglected the one thing that keeps me intimately connected to him. How did this happen?

Now, as I connect the dots between my busy summer and my lack of necessary connection with God my weariness makes more sense. But again, what to do about it?

Simple. Make time with God a priority.

So, to Google I went, finding a secluded hiking trail not far from my home. All was set as I carved out 4 hours on Saturday morning to do what my soul needed… hike with God.

The morning came and I prepared by enjoying a hearty breakfast, followed by some quiet reading in Scripture, and then packing my backpack. I was all set and ready to go, the only thing needed was to grab my hiking boots out of the garage. Flipping on the light, I spotted them right away where I’d placed them after the move, and inwardly congratulated myself for being so thorough.

Unfortunately, the self-congratulations quickly dissipated when I sat down to put them on my feet. Grabbing the right boot, I pulled the thick tongue back only to see a boot filled with spider webs, and of course, spiders. Ewww!!! Not surprisingly, the left boot held the same glorious content. Ugh, now what?

My first thought was to chuck them back in the garage and go lay on the couch. But as I sat there looking at them, my heart knew I needed to go hike. Was I really going to let a couple of spiders stand in my way? The tiredness in my soul screamed, “Yes, yes you are, go back inside and just give up.”

Thankfully, my Lord whispered above the tiredness, “Come.”

So, fighting against every ounce of arachnophobia in me, I cleaned the spiders and webs out of my boots. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. However, some mental gymnastics were necessary to not imagine spiders crawling up my legs as I drove to the park, haha. And on that gorgeous Michigan morning, out in creation with God, my soul was refreshed.

I share all of this today knowing that each of you reading has your own way of connecting with God. And, like me, I’m sure you go through seasons when that “way” is ignored or at the very least put on the back burner. It happens. The question is what are you going to do about it and what “spiders” are you willing to dust off to let your soul be fed by the God who loves you?

All I know is he is calling you… “Come.”

For Your Reflection…

When was the last time you spent quality time with God? What “spiders” do you need to dust off to make that time for him?


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