Lately I’ve noticed I spend a lot of time disqualifying myself from the very things that are in my heart to do. I have compiled a long list in my head a of “not enough.” I am not good enough for this. I don’t have enough money for that. These are the comfortable excuses I used to shut down things before they even start. What happens when this list gets long? I start to forget the dreams in my heart all together. I tend to hide. Hide the struggle, get lost in busyness, binge watch Netflix, or find comfort in food. Choosing activities that numb and in doing so lose connection to myself in the process. Letting my dreams and possibilities fade into the background.
Even in the middle of numbing out, God is relentless in His pursuit of us. He goes to great lengths just to win over our hearts once again. To remind us of who we are; to draw us back to Him and to our true selves. He is extravagant, elaborate, and sneaky!! Haha, and I am glad He is. No one writes a better story than God and I’m humbled to know He wants to write a story with me.
A few months ago I was in Arizona helping at a yoga training retreat. I had the privilege of taking photos which is one of my favourite things to do. (I offer photos sessions to new instructors) God was already scheming something although I didn’t know it at the time.
Weeks prior to my trip I saw an Instagram post of a woman I recently met. “She would be fun to take photos of” was the first thought that crossed my mind. A few days later she emailed me to see if I still had room to book a photoshoot. When coincidences like this happen I should really learn to pay attention; perhaps Papa God is up to something! I was fully booked for the week but I thought, “why can’t we do it after the training, and for that matter why not somewhere beautiful?” We decided on Sedona, Arizona and that Friday morning were on our way.
On the drive she wanted to hear my story so we talked about broken relationships, my struggles with low energy, and how that has led to less and less time outdoors. Once upon a time in my life there was a season where I pretty much lived outside full-time. I lived in a van and thrived. I loved it! We continued our drive, arriving in Sedona where my new friend feels the need to go and hike the Devil’s Bridge. I am finding this ironic because I’ve been to Sedona only once before and I hiked only one hike, the Devil’s Bridge. My first thought is really? Out of all the hikes in Sedona this is the one she wants to do? She was pretty adamant about it, feeling God was directing us there. I figured, ok, why not. I will trust The Holy Spirit in her.
I forgot to also mention I had been pretty sick most of the week. When we arrived at the trailhead this woman who is small in stature but strong, insists on carrying my pack with all my camera gear and she is not taking no for an answer. I pride myself in being strong so this was humbling.
Half way into the hike we sit and have a water break. That is when it happened, right there sitting on a log, the God setup! Turning to me she says “I really feel like I need to say this. God has been talking to me the whole time.” She tells me she feels God has brought me here to heal me. To set me free in my body, soul, and spirit. That I’m supposed to hike up the rest of this hike alone with God. When I get to the top and cross the Devil’s Bridge it is going to become God’s Bridge, and the areas of my life that have been stolen God is going to restore. The broken heart, the low energy, the disconnection. All of it. At this point I am crying. She tells me that she will be hiking behind me, staying back but praying. She encourages me to take as long as I need, to not worry about the photos. The real reason God brought me here is to heal me.
First of all I was completely overwhelmed by the love and care coming from this woman I barely knew. She was nurturing, yet strong, the sweetest thing you have ever met, and yet firm. I knew I couldn’t say no. So off I went, step by step and tear by tear. Just me and God hiking alone, if you don’t count the hundreds of other hikers. I’m sure they wondered about the crying girl hiking by herself. But in that broken space God spoke to me. He reminded me of my love for the outdoors and the connection I find with Him there.
I was surrounded on every side with mountains and God reminded me how He has surrounded me on all sides. The tears brought a cleansing to my heart. When I looked back I would see the tiny frame of the angel God sent disappear behind a tree or rock, wearing my pack. Knowing the whole time she was praying for me.
I made it to the top and felt the need to remove my shoes. Under the hot sun I crossed that bridge, spectators watching, wondering why I didn’t stop for the much coveted photo opportunity. I simply crossed over and went to the other side to sit with God. It was peaceful. It was healing. I was grateful for relentless love.
As I joined back up with my friend we were content to hike out and call it a day. She totally believed we were there just for me and didn’t care if we skipped her photo shoot. As we rounded the corner on the way down I stopped her, knowing I needed to get the camera out. It was stunning. The view, the light, everything. As if I hadn’t been given enough already, here was another gift; the amazing opportunity to photograph the angel God had sent to me that day.
Everything was not instantly healed in that moment but God touched me with His heart to heal. I still feel the temptation to numb out sometimes, but not as often. Although I am still on a journey of overcoming low energy I know God healed something in my heart that day. He reminded me of the dreams He has placed on the inside. (More to come on those dreams in future blogs!!)
Oh, He is relentless. All of the details that He had to put together to culminate in that holy afternoon. He did it all for me. He can’t help it. He loves each of us that much. God is always at work in our lives whether we sense Him or not. Remembering our God stories keeps us focused on what He has for us.
Wherever I disqualify myself, He qualifies me. Whenever I say I’m not enough, He says I’m more than enough. When I numb out and hide, He comes and finds me. There’s nothing I can do to diminish His love for me. He will stop at nothing until I am made perfect, in this life or the next.
Do you have a story of how God has shown His relentless love towards you? I’d love to hear about it.