Take Your Sweet Texas Time

Others are sown among thorns;
these are the ones who hear the word, 
but the worries of this age, 
the seduction of wealth, 
and the desires for other things
enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
 Mark 4:18,19 HCSB
 
We just got back from nearly four weeks in Texas spent mostly on JMJ Ranch, my in-laws’ home and land. Once I am there, life immediately slows down and there is a deep, deep peace. It is rustic and romantic. There are cows and horses and soon there will be chickens. In every way, life on the ranch is different from our life in Los Angeles.


All year long, I’m holding my breath. With every unexpected turn of the road in parenting, I tell myself a break is on the way. Each time I rush out to the car to run another errand, to pick up kids, to play my role in the hustle and bustle of the city, I am subconsciously hoping for a slower existence.
 
A week before we began our eastward trek, I told my friend “I am a better version of myself in Texas … a better wife and mother, calmer, less worried, more comfortable with myself. I trust easier, I love deeper. I am slower, deliberate, more relaxed. I am closer to the person I want to be.” It is true that everyone is different on vacation and it really isn’t fair to compare your everyday self to who you are when most of your responsibilities fade, and yet there is a deep desire to be the Texas Lindsey in California.


Leading up to our departure, Matt and I created a playlist of favorite country songs as we revved up for our trip. (This is the only time of year when he indulges my love of country music.) The closer we got to the ranch, the more I “serenaded” him with the words from a favorite song.
 
I wanna walk and not run
I wanna skip and not fall
I wanna look at the horizon 
And not see a building standing tall
I wanna be the only one 
For miles and miles
Except for maybe you
And your simple smile
Oh, it sounds good to me
 
Cowboy, take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free, oh I pray
Closer to heaven above 
And closer to you


And it’s not that I don’t love my life. I love this adventure we started on thirteen years ago, the children we’ve been blessed with, the home we’ve made, the church and friends we love — it is all grace. It is just that there are things that are done better in Texas that I want to be part of my reality in Los Angeles.
 
If I want to live well in the place God has called me — if I want to be the person He created me to be, the best version of myself where He has placed me, provided for me, commissioned me, than I have to learn to be my Texas self here.
I love the bumper sticker that says “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as quick as I could.” There is an enchantment in and for Texas. I admit it drove me crazy the first time Matt launched into what can only be described as a Texas Pride monologue, but I had lived there less than a year and we’d been dating a month at best, and it had yet to capture my heart.
 
Then as a college student I was required to take a Texas history class and it was during that semester that I fell in love with both history and Texas. I mean seriously, only Texas has existed under six flags, and that is only the beginning of its charm.
 
Oh, Texas.


I have so many memories from our trip this summer, but one that I will always remember is when in the middle of a conversation, my father-in-law said “Just let him take his sweet Texas time.” A few days later as we were driving out of Texas, Matt read to me an account of John Ortberg asking Dallas Willard what is needed to be spiritually healthy, and his response resonated with me.
“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
 
I worry that in this season of my life, with four kids, a husband in full time ministry, in a city with no family, with my (impossible to attain) shadow mission of becoming super mom; in a world and a culture where achievement, possessions and image reign, that I might lose myself — that I will become so preoccupied with my outward life, that my heart gets lost in the shuffle.
 
So as I return to real life, I am determined to slow down … to know that life isn’t about reaching a destination, but like a good road trip, it is about the journey. It’s as much about the music and the snacks, the conversations and the company. Yes, there is an end goal, but how much sweeter life would be if we allowed ourselves to slow down, to be distracted and amazed at the unexpected.
How many times and in what ways does God speak to us and we’re so blinded by the world around us and by what we think we want, that we fail to see Him and the ways He longs to satisfy our soul hunger?
 
“Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? But you say, ‘I can’t help it. I’m addicted to alien gods. I can’t quit.'” Jeremiah 2:25, MSG
It is impossible for me to spend hours silently fishing, lost in prayer everyday like I can on the ranch. I can’t walk out into open fields with only the sound of crickets, birds and cows for company. There are so many buildings in Los Angeles and rainstorms are so few, that I will not hear His voice often in crashing thunder or feel His breath as the rushing wind forces an afternoon rain across the pasture, but He is all around and if I slow down I will find Him.

He speaks in the silence of the morning when I’m the only one awake. He is present in the belly laughs of my kids. He breathes peace when I respond and not react to a sibling conflict. I feel His presence as I set aside the press, and take the time to mince garlic with a sharp knife. I can’t deny His goodness when I splash wine into a sauté pan and that glorious aroma fills my senses.

As I come home, I am determined to take my sweet Texas time, knowing I will find God there.