Stop And Smell The Roses
I’m learning to stop and smell the roses, figuratively and literally. This expression, although light-hearted and endearing holds incredible weight and truth in the life of a believer. Would you believe me if I said I have not heard, felt or listened to the creation around me in… well forever?
I’m realizing that as a little girl, I looked all around to find security, connection and admiration in the big world I lived in but found myself perpetually searching. In my searching, the enemy came and sat with me and whispered lies that built an unstable foundation deep in my soul.
He whispered, “You are alone. No one around you sees you. They are too busy and you aren’t enough for them. You need to fend for yourself because if you don’t no one else will.”
When the weight of loneliness and inadequacy felt too heavy to live with I decided to stop living. I disconnected and disengaged with the world as I knew it. Television, food, and people became my escape because they were comforting. I didn’t have to face and see that I was alone on my couch as my father was busy working as a doctor and my mother was busy working hard as a newly single mother of two. I didn’t feel the emptiness within my heart when I filled my stomach with nutter butters, gushers and yoohoo’s. I no longer had to stay home and be reminded of my emptiness when I was at someone else’s house with someone else’s family. I thought I had figured it out.
I remember when I first started driving, I would blare my music as loud as I could, as though I was drowning out the internal cries of my heart. I couldn’t hear them when the music was noisy and busy.
And that is how I have been living… loud, noisy and busy. That is, until 2017.
As God called me into a season of rest, healing and wholeness, He had something else for me that I didn’t expect.
While I once stopped living in my youth by disengaging and disconnecting, God has helped me begin living in the present.
It felt so uncomfortable at first, to sit in my living room in dead silence. It felt eerie and uncomfortable. I think I only lasted about five minutes before I got up and did something. But soon, I stopped listening to the radio and blaring worship music in my house to start warming up to “silence.” I had never really spent time with silence before. Now I’m learning that silence isn’t all that bad. God can meet me in the silence. I can hear Him in the silence. Shoot, I can finally hear myself in the silence.
As often as I can, I go on a walk to a nearby park and sit on “my bench.” I love my bench. It has the perfect view of a lake. It’s secluded and surrounded by trees. The wind blows over this bench at just the right angle and the sun hits the water beautifully. Ducks, geese, and seagulls all come to play in this lake. As the wind ruffles the leaves of the trees all around me, I feel it all. I hear it all. And I’m okay.
This saying, “stop and smell the roses” is a reminder to live present, to stop and look around, to listen to nature’s sound track and to feel the world surrounding us. When we live present in the world around us we can live present in the world within us. It’s been in the silence and stillness that I can engage with God and myself with great depth and then the overflow outpours to those around me.
To my sweet sisters, the ones who strive, perform, hide or isolate – you are not alone. You have a big God out there who is on the other side of your chaos. You will find Him in the stillness and silence. It’s safe there. I promise.
Go on, friend….stop and smell the roses.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5