Searching for Familiar
A few weeks ago I found myself in a room loud with worship. I tend toward the quiet side of most things, and I’m kind of easily overwhelmed or overstimulated or over-somethinged when things are loud or full of motion. What is most certainly not chaos can feel a lot like chaos to me. (I’m loads of fun at big parties.) All that to say, in that moment, in that loud and excited and darkened room, I closed my eyes to find the stillness.
And when I did, I realized that the song we were singing was a newer version of a song I’ve known as long as I’ve known Jesus. It wasn’t familiar to me at first, but when I shut my eyes, I could hear that steady, familiar melody. I recognized the words I hadn’t at first. And there, in the stillness I had sought, I found a moment in the presence of my God, and I blinked back tears at the familiarity of His nearness.
The world has felt like that to me recently—loud and booming and chaotic and unfamiliar. Shifting and changing and occasionally wobbling just on the edge of tumult.
I have peered around frantic for the face of my God. Eyes wide open in something between shock and confusion. I’ve known wonder before, but this isn’t it. No, this is a feeling far more fearful. The world has gotten loud. I can’t find how I fit.
Years ago, when I was in the fifth grade, my family moved from the home where I'd grown up. I remember walking back into my old room one last time after all the furniture and boxes had been loaded up onto the truck. And I remember that ten-year-old feeling of loss—that something so familiar no longer felt like home.
That’s how this season has felt. I have been walking back into empty rooms and expecting expired familiarity to usher me back into the presence of the Lord. I keep thinking I’ll find Him where I’ve found Him before. But I can’t find my way there, and even when I do, He’s strangely silent.
But when I close my eyes right here in the middle of the unfamiliar, in the room that feels too dark or in the sunlight that feels too harsh or in the conversations that feel too loud, I find a once-familiar melody buried beneath the new.
And I understand: it wasn’t the familiar I was seeking after all.
Instead, here in the middle of all that is unfamiliar, His presence is the steadiness and stability I've been longing for.
I can stop trying to force this season to resemble the last. I can stop trying to mold my life back into the patterns of what once worked. I can let this season be its own. And I can let God remain my God.
I can let His presence be my familiar. I can let Him be my comfort in the midst of all the shifting and the shuffling. He is my steadiness. He is my stability.
"...He will be the stability of your times..." (Isaiah 33:6)
...even of these times.
Whatever your times may look like. Whatever your times may be. However they've changed. However they've shifted.
Here is where we're known. Here is where we fit.
He is where we're home.