When I was a freshman in college, there was a boy who liked me.
He wrote me notes, put chocolate in my desk when I was out of my room, sensed when I needed to talk and listened to me, and planned group activities that I would enjoy.
I swore up and down that we were just friends and that was ALL WE WOULD EVER BE.
But eventually, I caved and told him I’d go to dinner with him. Being pursued feels good…and I knew deep inside that he was good for me.
It took years before I fully let him into my heart, but he persisted. He kept hanging around. He took me hiking and backpacking and helped me realize how much I loved the outdoors. He listened to the things that made me angry, sad, happy, passionate…and he asked questions that showed that he really wanted to know more. He held me when I needed to cry. He challenged me to be better while always making me feel loved for who I already was.
He woke up early and drove over to my apartment to scrape my windshield for me on cold Washington mornings so that I didn’t have to do it. He got a part time job so that he could take me out for dinner every week. He bought me flowers and lattes just because. He wrote me a poem. He tried so hard to win me…and eventually I realized that I was the one winning here, wised up, and loved him back. Now we spend every day together and have made a life together.
Pursuit is a powerful thing.
Lately, I feel like I’m wising up just a little more to someone else’s pursuit of me: God’s.
A group of friends and I are doing the One Thousand Gifts group DVD study. The sessions are kind of a mix between Steinbeck’s prose, a documentary on the Amish, yoga, and a theology class…narrated by a cyborg with really perfect eyebrows and a lot of feelings. They make me alternately sigh, roll my eyes, laugh out loud, and shout “JUST SAY ‘EMAIL’ INSTEAD OF ‘PENNING AN ELECTRONIC MISSIVE,'” but dangit, the principles are sinking in: slow down, SEE and pay attention to the gifts around you, and say thank you for them.
I’m keeping a gratitude journal and it’s been amazing to see in just a few weeks how much more I see and appreciate His gifts and His presence in ordinary—and even challenging—moments.
I thought I was aware of God’s presence, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how this study has affected me.
Here’s an example.
It was 4 pm a few Wednesdays ago. It had been a rough day and Zoe was a cranky, crying mess. David was working late that night and I couldn’t fathom how I would get through the next few hours without screaming. I took Zoe outside to see if that would calm her ragefest…and this blue jay came ridiculously close to us and just hopped around, letting us enjoy its rich hues, its long tailfeathers, and its calm presence. Zoe got quiet and looked at the bird with me. We enjoyed it together, and in that bird, I felt God saying, I see you.
And I said, thank you for this bird. Thank you for seeing me.
I see that blue jay every day now. I don’t know how long he has called our yard home, but I had never seen him before.
I see him now.
I also see cardinals and sparrows and mourning doves and owls…every one of them, I recognize, a reminder of my Creator and His love for me. Y’all, we live in a suburban home with a fenced-in yard on a busy street. I would understand if we had a completely blank and nature-free yard. But God has chosen to fill our yard with life, with sound, with color, with beauty, with humor, with reminders that I am seen and loved.
He has chosen to pursue me. Every single day.
Not just with birds, but with other precious things, too. And I have the choice to overlook those things in my haste and busyness—or to slow down, SEE, and acknowledge them, being blessed in the process.
I choose to see. I choose to allow myself to be pursued.
I choose to respond. Thank you, Lord.