Finding Freedom: Part 4 – Come Away With Me
Has God ever spoken to the most exhausted, tapped out part of you in an unexpected, rejuvenating, life-altering way?
A handful of years ago, when I was still mourning a recent miscarriage and while my girls were still small and required tons of hands-on time in order to be properly cared for, I found myself utterly exhausted. Drained. Weary. Worn out. I felt like a brittle, parched, styrofoam cup, sun-stained and dirty from lying, forgotten, out in the elements for too long. I wanted to be of use to the world, but the fact of the matter is that I was undoubtedly at the end of my resources. And, to top it all off, I had a pin-sized hole at my cup’s base which proved to leak out anything good or useful that I did happen to receive. An onlooker might have concluded that I was a “cup overflowing” because every drop of goodness or truth or joy God gave me was immediately shared with whoever was around. But, in actuality, I could feel the foundations of my self trembling; I felt as though I was about to crack wide open and become permanently useless.
You can only go without proper nourishment so long before decomposition and a beating of the elements takes its toll.
The message that pulsed through my mind during that season was this: “You will always be this exhausted. Things will never get better.”
One day, I dared to stop and take the time to tune into myself and really think my thoughts and feel my feelings. It was then that I realized how hopelessly exhausted I felt. I slowed down and took some deep breaths and asked God what was wrong with me: Why did I always feel so darn tired and would this madness and exhaustion ever end?
And in that very moment, the oddest song came to my mind. I immediately heard Norah Jones singing “Come Away With Me.” Thinking all my fears were being confirmed and I must be losing my mind (as I had suspected might be the logical outcome for my current mental state), I tried to brush the song away and get to whatever God might really be leading me to. I assumed He would give me some profound advice through a Bible verse or lead me to a book written by a wise sage or something.
Or at least if He was going to use a song, I figured He would probably use something more, uh… spiritual?
But no. He persisted in overwhelming my mind with lyrics from a secular love song. Lyrics like:
I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come
Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you
And something about those lyrics and that soft, lingering melody hit my heart in a way that altered my life forever. Through the sweetness of those words, the breathy pleading to join the Singer, the imagery of being in a beautiful field of yellow, the invitation to have an intimate moment on a mountaintop with Him… I was wooed.
In those two simple stanzas, I felt wanted by God. I felt pursued and seen and known. I felt hope, a feeling I had long forgotten.
And I felt God reminding me that refreshment and true rest come when I actually take the time to get away from the world to be with Him— to go on walks with Him, to go on “hiking dates” up in the mountains with Him, to take the time to allow Him to love on me and fill me up again.
I had been so busy for so long. I had neglected rest and “time for myself” for so long. As a person who had always loved moving my body in the great outdoors, I had somehow— in the mad rush of parenting and wife-ing and working and the grief of my lost baby— forgotten how life-giving and restorative solitude and time in nature had always been for me.
But through that surprising, simple song, God reminded me of how imperative it was for my soul to take time away to just be with Him— preferably out in His creation.
So I did. I took what that song stirred up in me— that hunger for more movement, for more time with just me and God out in Creation— and I incorporated it into my lifestyle.
And now? While I certainly find myself tapped out from time to time, due to the fact that I am a real human living in the real world, it’s different nowadays: I remember God’s song to me, His plea to me. I remember the many many times I have felt rejuvenated after I’ve taken the time to be with Him, to let Him fill me up again, and to simply let Him love me.
I have been changed.
[This is Part 4 of a five-part series unpacking the process of learning how to tune into what our good, truth-telling God wants to say to us about the (sometimes toxic) messages we hear in our minds. Click here to get to the landing page with links to each post for this series.]
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What about you?
When has God spoken to you in an unexpected way? How did it change you?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.