Normally I stick to a nice normal color when getting my nails painted. I am a big fan of the French manicure and subtle or darker pinks. But that Friday afternoon as I sat getting my nails perfectly tended to and looked outside my window at the snow still coming down in March, I knew I needed a color that screamed spring. So, I picked a bright Tiffany blue. And for extra measure, I asked the girl who was doing my nails to paint bright yellow sunflowers on my ring finger. The effects of that manicure on my mood were soul shaking. I walked into that salon run down, tired from work, and agitated at the weather, and left feeling like another person. Spring might not have been there in terms of the outside weather, but my soul was finally starting to smell the roses.
I didn’t realize how deeply entrenched I had gotten in my own everyday tasks and just general monotony until the other day when I was driving to work. Normally on my morning commute, I am silent in my car, I will tell you that I am praying, preparing my heart and mind as I head to work, but in reality, I am really just running through the never-ending to-do list in my head.
All of a sudden, I looked up and noticed that the trees had green bulbs on the end of them. Spring was starting to bloom and I had no idea. I looked around wildly and realized that it wasn’t just one tree that was starting to bloom, but all the trees. I had been driving to work for days and weeks and how many times had I driven by those trees, stuck in my own every day struggles to not notice the very obvious way God had been speaking to me. Every green bulb was a tiny reminder from God like, “Hello, remember me on your commute, spring is coming. Winter won’t last forever, hey look up, look up.”
But stuck in my daily routine of work, gym, friends, Netflix, etc, I had not noticed that spring was coming. I was not open to being reminded that God was all around me desperate to get my attention, desperate to break the focus I had on myself. I hope that many of you out there can relate to my feelings of being stuck in a rhythm. But one of the best parts of the seasons changing is that we have the opportunity to see God changing the outside world along with our insides changing in return.
After noticing those bulbs I had a realization, I had not been allowing God the opportunity to show me and present me with small gifts throughout the day. I was too stuck on my own daily routine and life and not open to something interrupting it, even if it was God. So, I decided to make some changes in my life to allow my soul more space to experience God.
I decluttered my closet of the clothes I no longer wear and threw out the ratty track and field t-shirts I had since middle school. I started to practice the art of Sabbathing, truly for the first time in my life, which allowed me to pack my weeks full, in anticipation that my Sundays would be rich and life-giving. I started making it a priority to write several times a week, to practice the craft that I love, even if I don’t let anyone see it. And finally, I started to freshen up my time with God. I did this by pulling out my journal, listing my daily gratitudes more often, and praying out loud so that on my way to work, I didn’t let my to-do list overwhelm me.
I don’t know what steps you may need to take in order to make room for God to speak to your soul this spring, but I encourage you to stop what you’re doing today and think of something. The God of the universe is trying and wants to communicate with us every single day, which is something no other religion can claim. Make sure that as you start to get used to the warmer weather, that you don’t just use it as an opportunity to swap the clothes in your closet around, but you allow this season to reset and recharge your mind after a long winter.
Winter is the season where the earth remains dry and barren. There are roots working underneath the surface, but all you see at the top of gardens are dust and decay from the season prior. With spring coming and the break to my all too inflexible routine, I can feel myself starting to rise from the soil, not quite ready to bloom, but starting to make out the sun and features of the ground above me. Give yourself room to reset goals, reset priorities, and work through issues with God as you go into this new physical and emotional season. Maybe as you drive to or from work today instead of automatically putting on that audiobook or playlist, you stop, take a deep breath, notice the blooms, and ask God to speak.