“Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act.” Psalm 37:7a
Paradise is defined (by the dictionary, surprisingly!) as the Garden of Eden –the home of Adam and Eve before the fall of humanity. In the book of Genesis, we read that while in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were in the presence of God, with God communing closely with them and caring for their every need. Peace was not elusive to them because peace was a way of life. They lived in harmony with their God, each other, and the creation.
Fast forward a few years later, and it is easy to feel like no such thing as paradise is even possible. In this season of my life, due to battling “the worries of this world,” I was forced into a five-month long sabbath. Initially, this overwhelmed me. I am great at getting things done and checking items off of carefully prioritized lists. Prior to this season, however, my identity was wrapped up in my ability to be productive. There is no rest for the perfectionist overachiever.
I learned that finding paradise really begins from the inside out. It doesn’t matter if God places you in the Garden of Eden right now – if there is no peace in your heart, it won’t feel like paradise.
And peace comes from knowing who you are
and Whose you are.
Through this season of resting and waiting, God reminded me that my actual identity lies in being a daughter of the King of Kings. As my soul acknowledges that truth, I see glimpses of paradise everywhere.
In the physical world, I experience these glimpses of paradise most often by relaxing near (or in) bodies of water – oceans, lakes, creeks, swimming pools, you name it. Being on the shore or riverbank reminds me of just how small I am and how powerful God is.
Bodies of water remind me to be still, take it all in, and focus on God’s handiwork.
The beach is a favorite of mine, even though it’s easier for me to escape for a walk at a nearby lake. At the beach, I am inspired to be fully present – listening to the waves crashing, feeling the breeze blowing, smelling the saltiness of the ocean, looking at the reflection of the sun on the water. During my sabbath, I even conquered a life-long fear and learned how to swim!
Below are pictures of different bodies of water that have become my version of paradise, especially during this season of being still.
Beloved, we have a God who wants to commune with us and meet our every need. Paradise is waiting.
What’s stopping you from going there?