Friday, July 25, 2014

A Clean Heart

It wasn't Eagle Fern, but it felt a bit like it.
Being restless is something I've struggled with for many years. It seems to fly in the face of my parallel laziness, and in spite of possessing an inability to pull myself off the couch or out of the office, it can be overpowering, this feeling of wanderlust an a desire to simply... go.

I feel it when I look at the sunset's path across the ocean waves, and it creeps up on me when I step into the woods. And so, though I recognize the very real risk I might leave and never come back, I wander into the wilderness from time to time, simply to give my mind a place to explore.

That's the position I found myself in earlier this evening: sitting behind a desk and hiding from the outdoors, hoping to bury my thoughts behind Netflix, Tumblr and high-fructose corn syrup. Eventually I'd had enough, and headed to the hills, looking for solace.

I aimed for a little park about 15 miles outside of my town, one of the few where I hoped I could find a trail to tread and some place new to lose myself in. About halfway there, I settled on a wide spot in the side of the road that had a narrow pathway down to the riverbank.

It was quiet down there, other than the whine of mosquitoes, the babble of water over mossy river stones and the occasional hum of a car speeding past overhead. I took off my shoes and stepped, stone by stone, across the creek in search of a seat on which I could spend some time in thought.

It's strange, how I run out of town simply for a chance to think of the problems I've left behind. This time was no different - I settled on the topic of my last blog post. Why do I so strongly seek the approval of others while putting God on the back burner? Is that something I can change? On my own?

I wrestled with that. It's been a theme of the last few years: "Lord, give me a stronger desire to follow you. Lord, take away the desire for sinful things. Lord, take my priorities and align them with yours."

Underlying all these thoughts is another commonality: I'm not always sure if my heart is behind the things I ask for, and I'll add the request to take the thoughts and plant seeds in my heart. I think I know what is best, and I know that being closer to the Lord is the best thing for me regardless of the sin-haze I see life through.

I just don't know how to get from wanting to want it, to wanting it, to having it.

As I thought while sitting on that boulder in the middle of the stream earlier this evening, I think I finally understand where David was when he wrote asking God to create a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in him.

Maybe I can't change my heart. I know I can't cleanse it, certainly. For the next few days and weeks, though, I'll include David's prayer in my thoughts.

I like the New Living Translation the best here for Psalm 51:10 -

"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit in me."

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