I don’t like to overspiritualize things. But I don’t like to underspiritualize them, either.
This last week in Maui literally just dropped in my lap. A phone call from a friend here, a slight adjustment to the calendar there, airline miles here, and a text or two from generous friends there, and BOOM, this girl landed in tropical paradise for an introvercation. An introvert’s vacation.
It wasn’t coincidence. It was a flat out gift from God, affirmed by a generous husband, and addressed to a weary heart that needed time and space to just be alone and just be quiet and just be woo’d by creation.
And boy did Maui deliver …
… like long hikes where I was only slightly terrified of seeing a Polar Bear.
… like long snorkels alongside giant sea turtles.
… like rainbows.
… and sunsets.
… and rainbows and sunsets sharing the show (I know, right!?).
… and shooting stars and lightning storms in the same sky.
… and time to write and think and feel and escape all the noise.
Quiet is one of the things most missing in my life – one of my favorite sounds in the whole world is the sound of no sound at all.
It’s extremely rare. Especially in the middle of Over Crowded, California. Oh, I mean Orange County. I digress.
So yeah, the sound of no sound – it’s like music to an introvert’s ears. It’s one reason I love diving. When I don the dive mask, the sounds of the world shut down. There is the sound of no sound. Many are scared of the “big blue”, that moment when you are transitioning from sky to sea and can only see blue above, below and all around you – it can unnerve some divers. I consider it one of my happiest places. All is quiet.
I think growing up in the mountains gave me this love for the sound-of-no-sound moments. I remember one distinctly. I was driving down the mountain in a blizzard – in a section appropriately called “Arctic Circle.” My dad would have FREAKED if he’d known how bad the conditions were and that I’d decided to keep going. Absolutely no one was on the road. No. One. Except a young girl in her shiny new Tacoma. Gosh, I loved that truck. Oh, again, I digress.
So this blizzard. There was so much snow coming down that it was what they call a white-out. All parts of the road and countryside were blanketed in a thick, thorough white, and even my windshield wipers couldn’t keep pace with the snowfall, so every few minutes I would have to stop, step out into freshly laden snow, and wipe my wipers clean with a towel.
On one of those stops, I stopped. Didn’t move.
I remember it vividly, even though it’s half a lifetime back.
The snow was blanketing us in. No footsteps. No tires cruising the blacktop. No horns. No wind. And snow falling on snow is as silent as it gets.
It was absolutely the quietest moment this girl has ever had.
I think I’ve been trying to get back to it ever since.
Because it’s noisy out there. And it’s noisy in here. I’ve got all the feels, and they’re loud right now. For good reason. Like a best friends’ dad dying. And another friends’ ten year old fighting cancer. Like jobs ending and traffic and bills and DMV and ISIS and North Korea and health insurance and terminal diseases and orphans and neighbor’s dogs and babies with tumors and doubts and fears and tears and brown-is-the-new-green and the loud noise of putting one foot in front of the other every dang day.
All the feels: they’re even louder than Orange County’s traffic. And they don’t run on nearly as predictable of a time schedule.
And thus the introvercation.
To you extroverts out there, a week alone probably sounds like hell. But go find an introvert and tap them on the shoulder – if you can find them in their hiding place under a rock – and I’ll bet they get glassy eyed at the idea.
In the quiet, all the feels could find their voice. Or better said, I could go slow enough to hear them one at a time. The ones that are thrilled and delighted by this life, the ones with big question marks, and those that are breaking my heart wide open.
I also brought a prayer I’ve never before prayed … last week in Bible Study we were talking about how often our prayers go something like this … “Please show me what You want me to do … today … this week … with my life.” There’s a sense of duty, of servanthood inherent in that prayer. It’s not all bad.
But there’s another way of asking about how to use our time that is far riskier, far more dangerous, far more … personal. It goes something like this … “Please show me what I want to do right now.” I know, right!? Yikes! I mean, are we even ALLOWED to pray like that!? Is that too, gulp, SELFISH?
But the conversation was birthed in this idea that maybe most of our ideas about God are … wrong. Or just not quite right. Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t submit ourselves to His will, and I’m not saying He doesn’t have plans and hopes and requests of us. And Lord knows I’ve fought Him time after time on things He’s asked me to do that I didn’t want to do. He’s big enough to get His point across when He wants to.
But He also talks about us being His children, not his servants (Romans 8:15). And about giving us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). What does that even mean? Well much of this week was an experiment in that for me. What if I actually believed this verse? What if I actually believed that God could show me what He wants by showing me what I want?
So that was my one prayer – I had it on repeat. “God, will you show me what I want to do next?”
I know, it sounds kind of silly, right? But you know, it was FASCINATING. Because sometimes it led to a nap. Sometimes to a hike. Sometimes to writing. And even sometimes to mundane work and productivity that just had to get done (no seriously!). And of course sometimes to Hawaiian shaved ice – with coconut ice cream, yes please.
But you know what it led to every time? This new glimpse of glee, and freedom, and wonder … because when I asked Him, when I really asked, even though the moments and requests were small, He really answered.
It’s my new scary good prayer.
And don’t get me wrong, I know that this looks different in Maui than in everyday real life. But I wonder just HOW different it looks. I’m daring to find out. Because I’m going to keep asking Him this question. “Will you show me what I want to do … next … today … this week … and beyond?” I’m asking it in the big things as well as the small. I’m daring to trust that He will answer. And that I will hear.
I’d love you to join me in this prayer. And I’d love to hear what it opens up.
It’s scary. And delightful. Like taking a walk through a rain forest just kind of wondering if you’ll run into a polar bear …