• Chriselle Lees-Thomas

Rhythm and Pace

Finding God in the noise. A reflection on 2017.

My apologies if you think this is going to be a “How To...” post. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, I have not yet mastered what it means to create space in an ongoing world of chaos. With that said, the search continues.


I can easily say 2017 was one of the hardest years I’ve had to experience. I’ve always described it as that feeling you get when swimming and you can only just touch the tips of your toes on the ground, barely getting enough air to fill your lungs. The spaces in between the pain, the mourning, the busyness, and confusion were lacking and brought nothing but self-pity. The noise was deafening and there was hardly a place of stillness. I felt very far from God’s presence.


2018 rolled in and the storm eased around me, yet a motionless cloud sat above my head, shading a grey filter onto everything I do. My mind sunk and my heart followed. Yet in those spaces, He calls.


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,

and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28


I often find my thoughts spiral into the vastness of dark shadows, leaving me squinting to see the light to pursue. Yet within my tunnel vision, there was always something in the background I didn’t quite pay attention to. He was, He is, He is to come.


In a fight for our lives, Jesus already won the war but every single day is a battle over us all. Staying in pace with who He has called us to be and pursuing Him in that is good. But using all of who we are to discover all the goodness He is - that is the best we could ever live. To put Him in the centre of all the mess that encompasses our lives is to give Him all we have.


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your mind and with all your strength. - Mark 12:30


Like a child, I had endless excuses: another time, having a bad day, I’ll try again eventually. As if I have the right to excuse myself from the commission and the calling that God has given to us as Christ followers. We absolutely have the space in our lives to pursue God in the way that He deserves - and He will change our lives accordingly! How great is it that we can know truths about God through Scripture:


He transforms, Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind."


He prunes, John 15:1-2 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." - John 15:1-2


He sets free, 2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."


Looking for the quiet, transforming moments God has waiting for us is well worth the time and effort. Being able to breathe in the chaos, taking a walk in solitude, going for a long drive - these are the spaces we can learn to hear God’s voice amongst the noise and be moved accordingly. God doesn’t use the perfect, He uses the ordinary; but more than that, He uses the willing.


Be still and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10


Through this process, my weaknesses have been highlighted in bright neon, consistently bringing humility and tears. It hasn’t been an easy task recognising my inabilities, but this has rooted from my self-reliance. Every single time I come back to God and give Him all that I have, the burden is lighter, and the road ahead is clearer.


In the time that it took me to realise that I had moved from a space of discontentment to pursuit and passion, I wondered how long I lived out of the imposter and how beautiful it was that I didn’t have to. Daily, God is renewing and refreshing us all as we take up our cross and stand with Him, as we look Jesus and mirror what it means to love God and love others.


I am learning to create space in my messy room called life. Knowing that if God isn’t the centre of everything I do, I might as well not do anything at all. His transformation is bigger than my circumstance, His glory worth more than my pride, and His guidance is worth more than my need to prove myself. And now, I will listen to the stillness and sit patiently in the spaces in between, knowing that God is growing, moulding and shaping me. And best of all, He knows me, He loves me, and I am His.


The Lord is my Shepherd. I lack nothing. - Psalm 23:1


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Chriselle is currently studying a social work degree at Massey University. She works as Intermediate Ministry Coordinator at Windsor Park Baptist Church. Contact her at chrisellekarah@gmail.com.


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