One of the changes in my spiritual walk is taking time in the morning to open God’s word and meditate upon it. The day seems to go better when I do this – not because things go my way but because I have a peace within me that carries me through the day, no matter what happens.
I also feel the effects when I don’t take time to read, pray, and meditate. It’s like I’m not centered in who God wants me to be, like something is off. It’s off a little on the first day, a little more the second day, further the third until I’m so far away that I must fight within myself to get back.
Years ago, we went to Dayton Beach on vacation. In fact, it was more than a few years ago – it was 2001, because my son was not yet two and my daughter was a few months from blessing us with her presence. I was out riding the waves on a boogie board and took a moment to rest. I floated on the water and let the waves lull me. When I finally decided to look up, I was far from where I had started and had moved down the beach away from the lifeguards and crowds of people.
I slid off the board to run back to the beach, but I couldn’t touch the ocean floor. I got back on the board and paddled, but the paddling seemed useless as I was fighting against the current, which seemed to pull me further and further out to sea.
No one knew I was there. I worked hard, using every bit of energy I had to get to shallower water and back onto the beach. I wanted someone to help me, just to give me a pull, but there was no one around. I couldn’t rest, because if I did, the current would pull me back out and wipe out the gains I’d worked so hard to accomplish. I had to keep kicking and swimming. I had to get back to the calm and safety of the beach. At this point, I felt like my life depended on it; I could drown before anyone knew I had drifted so far away.
By God’s grace, I made it back to shore, where I collapsed on the sand and rested. The battle had been grueling, but I knew what was at stake. My well-being depended on it. My family depended on it. My friends depended on it. And through this trial, I learned the importance of staying aware of where I am in the water and making small adjustments to stay where I’m supposed to be. Riding the waves is much more enjoyable that way.