Looked at myself in the mirror of truth today (at time of writing) and thought: “Anita, today is a do-over day if ever there was one.” Well, at least the second half of it was. I was driving back from somewhere and managed to drive with an attitude that was kinda unhelpful. I wasn’t in the moment able to pray, praise, worship or talk my way out of it. What I ended up doing was pulling over and letting people pass so that I was driving alone, away from other people, where whatever was going on would have as little effect on others as possible.
Then, I caught a case of foot-in-mouth which didn’t resolve well. Urgh. It was a mess. Especially internally.
The first part of the day had been ok. I have been learning to do something I’ve always done on my own, in a new way, exclusively God’s way. In the morning, I had a moment – I recognised my behaviour running off course, and out of the ether Psalm 11.1 came at me:
Flee like a bird to your mountain. Psalm 11:1b (NIV)
I was particularly grateful in the moment, because it felt like a life-line…However.
That small piece of advice does not come from a place of intimacy with God. All of verse one reads like this:
In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. Psalm 11:1 (NIV)
I wonder if David was being given a dose of advice from Jobs’ friends. He was obviously in the middle of one of his rough patches, possibly being pursued by Saul, and being urged to literally take to the hills. We know that David did this, he hid in caves with his mates and did his best not to be a nuisance. (Well, apart from becoming famous, hanging round the palace, being best mates with the apparent heir to the throne, being the son-in-law and all that stuff.) Saul was the actual King after all; it was Gods’ job to put David on the throne, not Davids’ job.
So David, even though he did what he needed to in order to avoid being knocked off, knew and expressed in this Psalm that he knew where the source of his security really came from. It didn’t come from hiding in the mountains, it didn’t come from the high places – the seat of pagan worship as he expresses later in Psalm 121. It came solely from God.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)
At any point in time, if Davids’ aspirations had been human, God could have revealed David to Saul and it would have ended. David knew that his kingship was God’s plan, and in order to remain in God’s plan, David himself had to remain in God.
In my eagerness to remain in God’s plan, I managed to grab hold of the wrong piece of advice. It was subtle, but what an enormous difference it made to my day. I grasped the mountain instead of God.
Huge mistake. Huge.
Mountains are great, but God’s got to be the one who decides if I go there, not me decide to go to the mountain to find God. Does that make sense? Instead of getting myself out of trouble, I stepped from a slightly muddy patch into quicksand. The trouble with quicksand is, you don’t know it’s there until it’s too late.
If I had actually stopped, instead of barrelling on with my day, and double checked where God actually was instead of assuming I knew, things may have been different. Assumptions are never based in reality.
I’ve learned that navigating something new as if you know what’s going on is not advisable. Also the whole pop culture “check yo’self before you wreck yo’self” thing is spiritually a good idea!
There are times in our lives when He gives us a wider, longer space between making mistakes and presenting the consequences to us, and times when the space between those two is very small. I think I am currently living in a time of short spaces.
Jesus always takes us seriously when we want to be close to Him, and it means learning and dealing with sandpaper days as well as the glorious ones. Thankfully they can be over as quickly as they come, if we’re ready to focus on His Face.
God Bless You Very Much