I love the beach. The first day of vacation, I walk on the sandy shores and (mentally) throw my arms open and say to God:
I’m here! Ready to be inspired! Talk to me!
So many years, I’ve come to His wide expanse of ocean and just soaked up so much of Him – His words, His ideas, His creativity. It’s all gotten quite Pavlovian: Girl hears sound of the waves and feels sand on her feet. Girl’s ears immediately attune to what God has to say to her. Girl equates ocean with hearing God’s voice.
This year, though, I felt like I was straining to hear Him. I’d be sitting on the beach with my book (my favorite type of “free-read” book? Government spy/conspiracy thrillers. Why? Because they are NOTHING like my real life.), I’d look out into the waves and quietly whisper…“Speak to me, God. I’m listening.”
Crickets chirping. Waves crashing.
I’d go back to reading. A few moments later, I’d think, “I really need to be listening to God instead of reading. What if I miss something important He’s trying to tell me?”
Crickets chirping. “Look Mom! Look at me boogie board!”
By the third day of this routine, He finally spoke, but not the words I expected:
“Read your book. Relax. Rest. If you don’t do it now, you won’t be ready to get back to work when you get home. This is called VACATION.”
Does the Holy Spirit really talk like that? Well, I guess so. I guess He speaks however He believes I will finally come around to what He has for me. I reflected on His words for a few moments, checking in with my heart and my motives. Here’s the truth: I often listen for His voice. He often inspires me. My inspiration doesn’t come from the ocean. It comes from Him. It’s available to me no matter where I live, what I see out my window, or what I feel under my feet. I am not on a time crunch to try to pull the best from Him during my one week vacation. And if I miss something He says, He’s so full of grace that He will repeat Himself.
This year, His plan for this vacation was for me to soak up being – reading on the beach, playing with my kids, avoiding sharks in the ocean with my husband (no we didn’t see any, I’m just always paranoid). There was little space to plan a book launch, dream about SDG, or plan bible study for the fall because that is not how He desired to fill my time.
On the third day, I surrendered. I relaxed. I breathed ocean air with no expectations about what I would exhale back out to the world after my vacation. I settled into rest. I gave over to the sensation of just floating along – no plans, no agenda, no to-do list.
I read my book. And I finished it. And God said that was good.
I found that as I surrendered to rest, He began speaking to me when I wasn’t listening for Him. I’d be reading along, look up, and there it was…His voice. His inspiration. It wasn’t for the book launch, or SDG, or for Bible study. It was just for me. Like this one:
Those 3 heads out there in the vast ocean are my 2 daughters and my dad. Though they look small to me, they will never be insignificant to me. Though we are small in comparison to the entire universe, we will never be insignificant to our Creator. Small and insignificant are two entirely different things. #beachinspiration
And this one:
There is a storm at sea. I could worry it is moving this way or I could give thanks for the sun shining above me. And I think this is sometimes the definition of worry – automatically assuming the storm is moving towards me instead of reveling in the gift of now, where things are bright and sunny. I don’t want to plan the day around what I assume will happen solely because of what I am seeing instead of calling on the One who sees all. #beachinspiration
He gave me these little nuggets to hide in my heart for a day when I’m at home, feeling insignificant or worrying. And I tell you so that if you are feeling insignificant or anxious, you can be encouraged. And when you see that I’ve forgotten these truths, you can remind me. Because that is what community does – shares truth and reminds each other of it when we’ve forgotten. And we all forget sometimes, don’t we?
Upcoming SDG: Connections Posts
On Wednesday, Emily Wierenga shares about her anorexia and feeling unloved. Bonus? She’s giving away a free copy of her newest book, Atlas Girl. All you have to do? Leave a comment. (It’s an amazing book – I’ve read it!)
On Friday, Linda Gill writes about the practical issues of caregiving for the elderly (2nd in this series). I absolutely love how she weaves the practical with the spiritual in this post. Even if you are not a caregiver now, bookmark this post in case you ever are.
Don’t forget to join us Saturday for Week 10 of our Isaiah 54 study with Dawn Boyer!
Let’s support our sisters who are sharing so bravely, yes?
SDG Gathering Important Information
Lisa Smith is helping me facilitate our gatherings each week. She is visiting those of you who link up on “even” numbers and I am visiting the “odd” (don’t worry, I’m not calling YOU odd). She will also be sharing on Mondays with you from time to time, opening up her heart and life to you, as you faithful do with us each week you link up. We do have some important housekeeping items about this gathering, so if you have not read them, please come here to catch up. The condensed version: Link up ONE post that shares your heart authentically and be sure to check in with some of your sisters who have linked up with you. Leave a heartfelt word of encouragement for them after you visit their space. This is a community where we actively seek to get to know each other.