When we visited him this last time, we took part of a day and went to Great Falls in Maryland. It was a much needed respite in the otherwise monument and museum filled trip. This is where the "Melinda is so dumb" moment comes in . . . We had been deciding what to do for the day and Al brought up going to Great Falls. I said that it was in my "Things to do with Kids in Washington DC" book and that it sounded great. However, I did not get on any website or anything before we went and we kind of just flew by the seat of our collective pants. So, we get there, and I make us go to the visitor center because I am "Queen of Information" and we start scoping the place out. We had no idea where we were going. So we walk to this one look-off point and because Al and I don't know any better, we start telling the kids that this is Great Falls and what do they think and don't they think it's great and all that. That's when Trey, the 10 year old, pipes up and says that he doesn't think it's all that great and that it's kind of let-down. To be honest, it kind-of was! When I hear the word "falls" that means something is falling, right? - Exciting - water-colliding-with-rock-drama, right? This is where we were standing at that moment:
See how peaceful and serene (and dare I say, boring) everything is in the background? All of us were trying to make the best of it - like - "Yay!" "Great Falls!" and all of us were thinking, "This is it?"
It was at this point that Al and I decide that there has to be more to this place and that surely this isn't "it" for Great Falls. We whip out the map and take a good hard look around and realize that this is just some look-off point BEFORE you get to the falls. DUH. So we get the kids in hand and head off to the real location, feeling pretty dumb that we had touted "The Falls" before we had even gotten to "The Falls!"
We took a beautiful hike and it was amazing to just be outside with a soft breeze blowing, and then, slowly we got to our true destination . . .
To say that, at the point of being at the "real" Falls, that I felt pretty stupid was an understatement. To think that Al and I had been trying to be excited about the look-off point before the Falls instead of the real Falls! And then, at that moment, God whispered to my heart about how many times I had done that with my walk with Him. How I had fallen into legalism of "having" to do my quiet time or "having" to go to church, instead of surrendering myself completely to full relationship with Him at every moment.
This summer has been strange. I haven't hardly had time to do anything and yet, God has used the most unique moments to speak to me and to strengthen our relationship. Even this moment of going to the wrong place and thinking it was "the" place was used by Him to show me how shallow I have let myself be with Him at times. How many times have settled for a look-off point instead of the amazing depth of real intimacy with Him? How many times have I bought a book, a CD, or gone to a conference to hear someone else tell me about Him instead of listening to Him directly?
Today, I challenge you to look at your relationship with our Father. Examine it closely. Look at a map - look around you - are you speaking to and with Him directly or are you settling for a cheap imitation of Him? I have done it too many times to count and that's why His whisper to my heart hit home so hard. I thank Him for this lesson of "good" or "great" and pray that I will keep intimacy with Him on the forefront of my head and heart as I refuse to settle for second best.