I thought I should check in with an Arizona update! I haven't been finding as many people in Arizona as I do in most cities. And the people that I find are usually by themselves rather than in groups. I think Arizona might be a little breathing time between two really busy cities! Last week I was in San Antonio, which was full of people, and next week I will be in Los Angeles staying a few blocks from skid row, so I know I will have no problem finding people there! I wasn't worn out or feeling the need for a break, but maybe God thought a slow paced week wouldn't be a bad thing. And it's a really freeing thing to neither get worn out by what I do nor need to be super busy with it to feel of any value. Ministry opportunities may come and go, but God is so constant and steady. He's really all we need!
Arizona is such a beautiful place! You can see mountains from pretty much anywhere you are. And I love the mountains! My whole drive to Phoenix from Las Cruces, which was about a six hour drive, I didn't listen to any music or have any form of "entertainment" during my drive. I was so in awe and entertained by the beauty of creation that I didn't need anything else! I love how God lavishes us with things that aren't necessary because His love is so extravagant. We don't need the planet to be beautiful to survive, but He chose to make it that way! I'm such a Daddy's girl, I just can't help myself. He's the most amazing person ever. But the other day I took the opportunity of being in such a beautiful place to take a hike and enjoy it! While I was hiking, I realized that I couldn't really enjoy or take in the beauty of the mountain. I was so busy moving through it, and I couldn't take my eyes off the path because if I did, I would miss a step or trip over a rock. And I think sometimes our life with God can be like that. Sometimes we get so busy trying to get somewhere or do something, that we don't really take the time to just spend time with God, admire Him, and get to know Him. Which is really the whole point. The point of me going on the hike wasn't to climb a certain amount of steps or get to a certain point; I wanted to go on a hike so I could enjoy the beauty of the mountain. But once I got going, I got so sucked into making progress and focusing on not losing my footing, that I didn't really get the chance to enjoy the mountain, which was the whole purpose of the hike anyway. It's such an easy trap to slip into with our walk with God, replacing the point of intimacy with God and getting to know him with works and measurable progress. Climbing and progress isn't bad, though! As I climbed higher up the mountain, I got to see more of it's beauty and got to see more of it as I saw it from different levels. Just like with God, as we go deeper with Him, we get to know more of Him. With God we go from glory to glory. The first step of that is glorious! It's glory! But if we're just satisfied with the first glory, we keep ourselves from moving on to greater glories and really getting to know more of God. Even though the first glory is still glorious! Like the way that when I was at the bottom of the mountain, I looked around and thought, "Wow, this is beautiful!" I could have been just satisfied right there and not taken any steps up the mountain, and it still would have been beautiful. But as I went up the mountain, I got to know the beauty of the mountain more, and experience it's beauty. It's the same way with God. Why would we be satisfied with "the amount of God we have" when there's so much more of Him to get to know and experience? He's infinite! So really, enjoying the scenery and climbing are both important. You just can't get consumed by trying to get to a certain point or making a certain amount of progress and forget the reason you're even there. It's like one thing I heard Heidi Baker say concerning the balance between soaking in God's presence and reaching out to people. She said, "It's not either or. It's both and more."
I guess it's that we shouldn't ever just want to stay where we are, but we also shouldn't be focused on getting somewhere. Maybe it's all just about enjoying God and letting Him take you to deeper levels at His pace, as He want to reveal them, rather than you trying to work to a certain point.
Even if this didn't make any sense, God is beautiful and amazing and I just love the way He continually takes me into deeper freedom than I thought possible! Go climb a little, but don't forget the purpose of the hike!