|It wasn't Eagle Fern, but it felt a bit like it.|
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."