Day 4, A Sunny Spot by the Beach
Why should I worry? Why do I freak out? God knows what I need… You know what I need.
-Jon Foreman, “Your Love Is Strong”
I am sitting in the most marvelous spot off the avenue, overlooking the beautiful ocean. It’s a scene that rivals the beauty I experienced halfway around the world off the southern shores of Thailand. Deep blue green water. Sandy tan shores. Crisp white sails of the boats and feathered wings of birds out enjoying the fine breeze this afternoon. And the green bluffs to my left and sweeping mountains to my right. It’s simply ridiculous.
How did I get here?
As I soak up the rays of the sun and sip my ice cold horchata, I finally feel the intense tension in my jaw relaxing. Remember how I was getting panicked at deciding whether or not I really had enough money to buy fries? Apparently, it’s not the only thing I’ve been anxious about. Today I had planned to “hit it hard” and work some more on my Web presence, finalize my word sets to describe what distinct service I’m offering, and establish my main methods of contact so I could wrap up the business cards I drafted. But turns out God had other plans for me today. Turns out my “get ‘er done” strategy was not the best thing for me right now. In the span of the past few days, weeks, and months, I had gotten wound tighter than a spool of thread, and I needed to let go so I could discover what this newfound freedom was for.
Every now and then when I consider my situation, I reflect on the story of Exodus and how after hundreds of years of life in a certain place, lived a certain way, God had led the Hebrew people out on a journey to a new land so they would be His people and He would be their God. They would find a new freedom that they never had before. All they knew was gruelingly hard work and an identity synonymous with being oppressed slaves in a foreign land. God had delivered them from it, but what would they do now? And as He starts to give them commands on how to live, including some crazy thing called Sabbath which was all about rest and no work, how in the world are they supposed to make this leap?
Now, clearly, this isn’t an exact parallel. I wasn’t a slave under harsh rule, and I certainly didn’t spend hundreds of years as such. But what is similar is that I had gotten used to life being a certain way for nearly a decade. I grew accustomed to my routine, my budget, my colleagues, and my position at the organization I worked for. Now, God has called me away from there to embark on a new journey with Him, to use my gifts and time in the way He sees fit, and everything is different. And just like the Hebrews, I find myself saying, “okay, I’m free… now what?” And in the midst of waiting for what seems an uncomfortable length of time for the full picture, I begin doing the only thing I know how to do: work as hard as I can with what I’ve got. So what if details are a little scarcer than I’d like. I can work within this whole uncertainty-faith construct…right?
Yeah. Right. Hence, the clenching of the jaw…
Who am I kidding?
Just like God needed to take the people of Israel on a journey before entering this new land, I too need to remember I am en route. I want to jump right into the next thing so I can tell all my friends and settle into a new routine, but God isn’t working like that. How dare He not follow my timetable of comfort! Oh right. He’s, um, God so He’s kind of wiser than I am.
And so I’m sitting in the sun, writing at the beach, and still enjoying my horchata.
I had originally planned to take the next few weeks off to rest, recharge, and get focused on the Lord and hearing His voice for the next steps ahead. How quickly did I set up a new workspace at home and start brainstorming business ideas! I have to shake my head at myself. Turns out I need Sabbath just as much as the Hebrews. The minute I realized it, I came to the Lord, turned myself in, and we went on an adventure complete with open sunroof, Switchfoot blaring, and bean and cheese burritos for lunch with an incredible ocean view.
Just an hour or two and already I feel my soul recharging. I sense my stress waning. I’m remembering Who’s planning this thing, and I let out a yielded sigh. I give up.
Who but God knows what’s on the road ahead of me? Odds are that I won’t have the luxury of this down time very soon. I may need the strength precisely for what lies ahead — so why forfeit this opportunity God is giving me now?
Guess part of trust means learning to let go and enjoy what God is giving right now…
I just looked up and saw the most spectacular sight: a white sailboat, billowing sails illuminated by sunlight, gliding on the sparkling turquoise water so close to the coast and dozens of seagulls and other ocean birds gracefully soaring above its mast in an intricate, domed circle in synchronized fashion. If only I had my camera… but perhaps that picture was just for me. Hmmm. =)
In any case, here’s to experiencing Your freedom, Lord. Here’s to enjoying my new life. And here’s to this gracious uncertainty.