The beach is a great place to reflect. I love to watch the waves lap against the shoreline, breathe in the salty air and ponder the great mysteries of life. On this particular vacation I have a bit more to ponder, it seems. However, this time my mind isn't working quite like I expected.I find myself napping in the sun (I hate naps), staring blankly out at the waves and doing very little of much importance. hmmm...I think I just described the average individuals vacation....Suffice it to say I have never been very average (not a great thing, honestly), and tend toward the "nervous idiot" side of things; rarely sitting still, needing activity and purpose of some sort and "planning my fun". This time I find myself in a perpetual "mellow" state, and surprisingly, I'm OK with it. I am enjoying myself...
wait...should I do that? really?
There is much to be said for relaxation. Granted, it is easier to rest and be still when you are surrounded with little responsibility and beautiful sunshine. It is a lot harder to be at peace when you're caring for and running after little kids, working a stressful job, dealing with painful circumstances, and simply trying to survive one day at a time.
I know from observing the lives of others(and from personal reflection) that some of us, though we have even a small window of opportunity at times to be still, have fun and enjoy ourselves,prefer the constant chaotic activity of which we complain. There is peace and comfort in the familiar mayhem. We are afraid of the answers if we take the time to reflect. We hate the illogical guilt if we let ourselves have fun.
I've heard it said that sometimes the most "spiritual" thing we can do is have fun...not sure if that is entirely theologically correct....however, I don't think God wants us to keep ourselves in a constant state of stress, guilt and hyperactivity....i don't think it brings us closer to Him, and many times works the exact opposite. If we are never calm and semi-at-peace with ourselves, resting and secure in who we are in Him, we can't reflect on Him, and, as an extension, we can't discover what He wants for our lives (Excuse the run-on sentence)
I think that will be the struggle of my life. I am my own worst enemy in so many ways. My conscience screams my guilt on a daily basis.That is not as holy as it sounds,by the way, because the focus is still on my own works. In Christ, I no longer have to worry about my works affecting my spiritual status. In Christ, it doesn't matter what I do, because He will always love me. In the words of Paul, does that mean I should "continue in sin, that grace may abound?" Absolutely not. Christ will love me no matter what, absolutely, but why would I want to remain enslaved to the behaviors and thoughts which characterized me before I knew His love? There is much freedom to be found in being a "prisoner of Christ". I am free to live the life for which He designed for me, knowing that when I fail He will still love me. He will never forsake me. His plans for us, though painful at times, are for our eternal good and His glory. And He is forever deserving of all glory. Though at times I am not sure if I care about glorifying him if it means such pain for me and those i love, who else would I want to glorify? I will worship something--it is ingrained in the human soul--and I certainly am not worthy. The God who made the oceans with a single word, entered our world, cursed by our own choice, lived a perfect human life and paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring our hearts back to Him through His extravagant love. Why would I not trust His heart? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He always loves, protects and pursues.
That makes for peace of mind, regardless of the circumstance.
"I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught." John 14:27 (the Message)