“This picture is an invitation.”
I lost count of how many times I said that over this last weekend. I was sharing postcards – pictures with a message – with the many lovely seekers-after-truth-and-comfort who visited our booth at the local Mind Body Spirit Fair. And as I shared the pictures I’d painted, I kept hearing myself say that phrase: “this picture is an invitation”.
And I suppose that many of the pictures I paint are just that: An invitation to trust; an invitation to step out; an invitation to surrender; an invitation to love and be loved; an invitation to ask for more…
This one is an invitation to come and ‘be’…
A bench sits in a shady part of the garden. It’s a place of peace, rest and friendship. It’s a place of quiet and of conversation. It’s a place for you to meet with Jesus.
Have you been there lately?
Sometimes I get so busy with life that I forget to retreat into this place of quiet with Jesus, forget to do the one thing that restores my soul and enables me to keep up the busyness.
Sometimes I’m so ashamed that the garden that is my life has become overgrown and messy that I put off inviting Jesus into it until I’ve had a chance to tidy it up a bit.
How foolish am I, that I am so busy trying to make my garden look pretty that I forget to take the time to sit down and have a cup of tea with the master gardener that is waiting for me? How crazy is it that I stand alone, fighting to hack back the weeds with my bare hands, while Jesus stands behind me holding a scythe?
“I’ll be with you in a minute Jesus, just let me deal with this first”
Here’s the news: Once you’ve invited God into the garden that is your life he is always there. He is always ready to sit with you on this bench, to listen to what is on your heart -however ugly it might be- and to speak and to pour out forgiveness, restoration and love into your heart. He is waiting. And he already knows about the mess, the corners of brambles and weeds; he even brought a spade. But his priority, his heart, is to take time to be with you.
So you don’t have to invite him in, and I suspect you can’t keep him out, but you can refuse to listen to his invitation to join him in this quiet corner. You can be too busy, too distracted, too tired or too ashamed. There might be a hundred and one things you think you need to get done first.
But hear the invitation he is speaking to you now:
I wonder if it would be even better to not wait until I am aware of how weary and burdened I am, but to come today anyway….
… and when you come and make time to sit on that bench, I think he says something like this…
If you’re reading this post, and thinking that you’ve never invited Jesus to be a part of your life, never known the closeness of a friendship with him that is like sitting on this bench in a garden with him, please find someone who knows him and ask them how. They will be so happy to talk to you about their friendship with him. And if you don’t know anyone to ask, drop me a line – I would LOVE to tell you more…
For your Journal: (it’s great to process things with God on paper – I can heartily recommend it)
How does this picture of a bench and the idea of sitting on it with Jesus make you feel?
What things in your life distract you or hold you back from spending time alone with Jesus?
What do you find hard about making time with Jesus and what things could you do/ put in place to make it easier?