Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC
Simple Moments With God
“My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14 (The Voice)
God and I have been doing life together for a while now, so he knows how I tend to best hear his voice. One way in particular is through the everyday events of life. It’s taken me years to develop an inner posture of paying attention to his movements in this way, but now that I have it’s profound how much he reveals through simple moments. Last Friday was such a day.
It was the perfect day for a run. At mid-morning the sky was overcast and there was a slight breeze that would waft by every now and then. It was a little humid and warm, but this is the way I like it, so off I went.
In full disclosure, I’m not really a runner, more like a jogger and it had been weeks since I’d been out for a run so I knew it would be tough. The go-getter in me was determined to barrel through, but wisdom said maybe I should get back into things slowly by alternating 5 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running. When this thought came to mind I was going to ignore it, but then I heard God whisper. “How about if you just listen and rest when walking, and then use the time of running to pray?” Ok, I thought, I’m in.
The first 5 minutes of walking were great as I just enjoyed creation. As time approached to run, my daughter came to mind, so I spent the next 5 minutes praying specifically for her. As the cycle repeated I thought of my son and prayed for him next while running. However when I got to the end of this 5-minute run I was not ready to stop praying for him. I started to justify in my mind why it was ok for me to keep praying as I began to walk, but I heard God whisper again, “Steph, stop praying and just walk with me. You can continue praying again after this moment of rest.” I stopped, not fully understanding, but was obedient to rest and then resumed praying again in 5 minutes.
Through the next several cycles of starts and stops I prayed for many people and situations, however near the end of my 4-mile trek I was getting tired. As I approached one of my last two cycles of running I even felt too tired to pray. Trying to just push through, I noticed that the first 2 minutes seemed like the longest of my life! Then the thought came, “praise me.” As I began to pray and praise God, the next 3 minutes flew by and to my surprise it was time to walk again. I repeated the last cycle, praising and thanking God as I pushed through til the end.
Walking up to my front door I heard God speak to my heart, “Steph, did you catch it? This is the rhythm I want you to employ for your life. Intermittent times with me to listen, rest and be refreshed ARE NECESSARY for you to run hard working for My Kingdom. No matter how much you feel needs to be done, you have to lay it down and just be with me.”
It was such a simple revelation, but made so much sense! Especially when I thought about praying for my son. I realize now that when I stopped praying for him and rested as God prompted me, the quiet and rest actually refreshed me and the Spirit could better guided me on what I needed to pray for next.
Stopping activity for God to just “be with him” actually made me more productive!
As I continued to process all that God was teaching me through this simple run, I noticed something else. Even with moments of rest, there are still times that the journey gets long and tedious and feels exhausting - like I felt near the end of the run. That’s when I NEED to invite God into my situation, continuing to pray and praise him because he is the only one who can make those moments bearable and give me the strength to endure.
What a lesson from such a simple moment, but one that I find so profound. When I embrace God’s rhythm of rest in my life, I am free to fully enjoy “his presence that travels with me.” Wow!
Praise be to Jesus, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8), our Lord and Savior who STILL SPEAKS to us today!
For Your Reflection...
When was the last time you just “rested” and enjoyed a simple moment with God, listening for his voice? Maybe it’s time.