Don’t laugh, but I think God is asking me to couples’ skate. I’ve been distant this past year. The challenges and frustrations have kept my heart too occupied to experience real rest. I often hear God in the middle of the night—the times when I’m most vulnerable, the times when I’m more likely to listen because I’ve finally disengaged from the drama dujour. Barbra Brown Taylor intimates that during this time of night, we are most ourselves— without any pretense. Tonight is one of those “can’t sleep because I did too much Zumba at 11pm” nights. Or, maybe, I’m up because God wants to meet.
Maybe at night I’m too tired to put up walls. Maybe I’m finally in touch with how needy I actually am. Maybe it’s during the raw, exhausted hours that I want what God is willing to give.
I don’t think God is judging me based on my motives for listening. I think he’s glad I’ve gotten over myself long enough to sit. Right now, I’m just his. I have no other responsibilities in this moment. No one is asking me for water. No one is asking if my mentoring notebook is finished. No one is reminding me to fill out FAFSA forms for my daughter’s pre-k program. I just belong to God, like I always do, but right now, I feel it.
We need these moments—these times where we remember the simplicity of being beloved and created. Who cares how we get to this place—we just need to get there and get there regularly.
Somehow, there are rare and amazing pockets of communion that are possible even in the most chaotic or apathetic seasons of our lives. It’s just up to us to recognize the moments and kiss them in the face. Deep down, we want this communion, but the longer it’s been since we’ve acknowledged God, truly looked him in the eyes, the harder it is to let go and be present to him. Letting go, even for a moment is terribly vulnerable and exciting.
I tried to think of my most vulnerable times and my most exciting times, and they were without a doubt 4th grade skate parties at the roller rink. Nothing says risk and elation like the couples skate. First, you’d wait for a boy to be peer pressured by your friends to ask you to skate. Then you’d hold hands, not look at each other and when the song was over, you wouldn’t speak for the rest of the school year. The awkwardness was so thick that it almost wasn’t worth it. But there was an excitement in it. Getting asked to skate. Putting your sweaty hand into someone else’s. Letting yourself go for a little bit and enjoying the disco lights and MC Hammer jams.
God is the pursuer—always inviting, even if we only occasionally say yes. No matter how awkward we feel, no matter how much we fear the vulnerability, no matter how scared we are that he’ll abandon us like everyone else, God keeps asking us to skate. It doesn’t matter if we’re not skaters. It doesn’t matter if we have sweaty hands. It matters that he’s asking.
And the more we say yes to this God, the more we want to say yes to his pursuit. The more we put our hand in his, the more we remember what it is to belong to God; we remember the joy more than the risk and the peace more than the doubt.
The more we entrust ourselves so wholeheartedly to God, the more we’ll remember that meeting with God isn’t a waste of time. We’ll recognize his hand as the one we need to hold. We’ll recall that his voice is the one to which we listen and his perspective is the one for which we’re desperate. And, we’ll learn to say yes to the skate—maybe we’ll learn to lean in and let ourselves go. Maybe we’ll learn again how much we love it.