As I sat outside this morning watching the birds in my yard dart from tree to tree, stopping to sip from the gently bubbling, crushed stone birdbath, it occurred to me that I have learned a very valuable lesson during these last few months. I have learned to just be.
As the dreaded Covid19 swept across our country, our routines changed, stores and restaurants closed, our busy schedules ceased to be and we found ourselves at home with extra time on our hands—unheard of in this age of over-commitment and hurried living.
My morning quiet time was once again a joy—something I looked forward to and could actually focus fully on as I studied God’s Word and spent time in intentional, pointed, prayer. It was no longer a rushed, ‘check that off my list’ task I completed while simultaneously wrestling my mind back from thoughts of the day’s to-do list. There was now time to truly seek God and to hear from Him.
Also, before Covid19 I spent very little time outside on my patio enjoying the natural world around me—too busy with errands, appointments and duties to spend any time out there. However, after the implementation of stay-at-home orders and self-isolation, I suddenly found great joy in spending time in the peace and quiet of our rural backyard which is bordered by a forested area of oaks, pines and elm trees. I began to watch the birds and squirrels (my college-aged daughter, home early because of Covid19, often sat outside with me) and learned to identify the 15 or so bird species that inhabit our Florida backyard. Funny enough, I began to see numerous bird and backyard photos on social media from my friends who were also apparently, finding new joy in nature and in God’s feathered creatures. Who knew all this was out here?! Haha!
As an aside: One day as I was sitting by myself on the patio watching the birds, a full-grown black bear came lumbering around the corner of my house onto the patio—not more than 15 feet from me—looked me square in the eye, then turned around and sauntered back into the woods—a close encounter with nature that I hope I never have again!
So without an endless list of places to be, things to do and responsibilities to fulfill, there was suddenly time for reflection—time to look into the eyes of our loved ones and truly see them. Time to play board games and have dinner together. Time to enjoy nature and study the subtleties of God’s amazing creation. Time to reconnect with God through His Word and in prayer. Time to just be.
To me this time has been a great gift. As the country slowly returns to normal and my calendar fills once again with events, meetings and appointments, I hope I will continue to make time in my life for quiet reflection and stillness. It is in those times that God speaks to us—guiding, directing, shaping—leading us toward better relationships, clarity of purpose, inner peace, and most importantly, a closer walk with Him.
This week make time to just be.
The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15
But now ask the beasts and they will teach you; And the birds of the air and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? Job 12:7-10