Three months is how long a summer lasts. Three months is over in the blink of an eye. Three months is the amount of time we have lived on Green Acres. Three short, but glorious months. It feels as if I have lived here my entire life. A lifetime of beautiful scenery, a lifetime of beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and a lifetime full of peace and tranquility have occurred in less than 90 days.
Why does it feel this way? I believe it is because my heart is at peace for the first time in a long, long time.
God has taken me on an incredible journey over the past 20 years of my life. He has been constantly testing me, teaching me, and wanting to know that His lessons are permanently impressed upon my heart. There have been times when He has had to break me completely to cause me to listen, times when He has had to nudge me gently to get my attention, and other times when He has merely had to whisper my name to have my undivided attention. I am hopeful that I will remain in the third category where I am so attuned to His voice that I can clearly hear Him whispering truth and wisdom into my ear.
He is slowly teaching me to let unimportant things go. Stop worrying so much. Stop complaining about trifling things such as the weather or a headache. Reminding me regularly that the only person I can control is myself. Reminding me to avoid unpleasant topics of conversations that are not honoring to Him. Reminding me not to worry about tomorrow but try, instead, to focus on the important business of each day. He says many of these things in the bible many times in many different ways, but it seems that we don’t want to heed His advice in daily living. He is doing His best to help me implement these truths in my daily life.
The biggest thing He is working on in me right now, at this stage of my life, is to let go of expectations. All expectations. I think any and all expectations can actually be categorized as “unrealistic expectations” because they are something you are expecting based on little known facts about the actual outcome. They almost always breed disappointment. Unfortunately, people can’t read your mind and know exactly what your were expecting so it is impossible for them to live up to the expectations you have formed in your mind. Friends, it is a vicious cycle so we must all strive to throw expectations out the door. Just learn to enjoy what actually occurs in your life instead of what you think should occur.
What does all of this have to do with Green Acres? What, exactly, have I learned since moving to the farm?
- Try to glean every last moment you can from each day. We have had many, many friends going through great difficulties over the past three months. Since moving to our farm, we have had close friends with a beautiful daughter fighting against leukemia during her senior year of high school, friends out of work and struggling for months, a childhood friend who lost her older brother, a dear friend who died after a long battle against cancer, and many other life-altering tragedies. We have learned to grab hold of every day and make the best of it. Take advantage of every opportunity to visit with our children, friends, and family. Do not allow “the tyranny of the urgent” to take the place of what is truly important. Fight to focus on what is valuable.
- We were way too busy and preoccupied when we lived in the city. We barely met ourselves coming and going. We barely had time to maintain important relationships. We knew we were swamped and stressed out, but we didn’t realize how unhealthy it was until we distanced ourselves from it abruptly. The abrupt stop was made possible by our move to Green Acres coupled with the fact that our two oldest children left for college. Now that we are living on the farm, it feels like our days last 36 hours instead of 24. We have extra hours in each day to unwind, reflect, walk, and relax. We have met so many sweet, new people in our new town and at our new jobs. We have both thoroughly enjoyed having great conversations with the people we see everyday. It feels like people around here are never in a hurry and always interested in what is going on in our lives. It has been a true blessing.
- Being quiet is okay. It is okay to have moments of total silence. Everyone who knows me, knows that I like to talk and fill in the silence in a room, but I have loved sitting outside and listening to the wind rustle the leaves, the birds sing their melodies, and the frogs call to one another for long periods of time. It is so refreshing to hear the sounds of nature and not have it interrupted by sirens or noises from the city. Many times since our move, I have thought to myself that I feel like I am camping. Permanently. Except I get to have a bathroom in my tent (house). What a great privilege it is to have a bathroom in my tent and get to be camping for the rest of my life. I am blessed.
- Trust Him with the big things AND the little things. He is training me to pray more diligently by providing ample time during my 30 mile drive to work each morning. During that time, I think of my family and friends who are needing wisdom, encouragement, and healing. It is amazing to see firsthand how God answers specific prayers. He is training me to talk to Him and not to other people about my problems. To trust Him to help me find a solution to a source of stress instead of going to a friend or family member. His solution is always so interesting and, at times, unexpected that it always causes me to stop and wonder how I could have possibly put God into such a small box as to think He would come up with a solution that I would have thought of. He loves to do something so unique that it confirms His involvement in the scenario. I love that about Him. He is waiting for us to ask Him and then trust Him enough to let Him handle it in the way He sees fit. Trust me when I say it is ALWAYS a better solution than you would have ever imagined.
God is always working in my heart and mind to make me more like Christ. Sometimes, it takes a painful experience to be conformed to the image of Christ, but sometimes it is just a time of listening and learning as you walk through this life. Let me challenge you to pay attention to every detail of your life. God has a plan for your life. He created you to fulfill a purpose that He designed especially for you. No one else can fulfill that plan. Only you.
Oh, I am sure that life lessons on the farm will continue to take place for the remainder of my life. I hope and pray that I will be sitting under one of the huge oak trees, listening intently, when God speaks truth into my ear. The lessons come so much more easily when we are attentively listening so I will poise myself in such a way as to be waiting to hear His soft voice instead of making Him scream for my attention as I have in the past. May He find you sitting under the oak tree as well.