What the Water Gave Me.

A while back I went to the beach for a much needed spontaneous getaway with my dear friends. On the first night at around 11pm we decided we all felt like the sound of waves and the feel of sand between our toes so we wandered down the little pathway that led us straight to the beach. As often happens at 11pm, you do crazy things like decide to go swimming even though the current is fierce and its pitch black.

At one point I sort of wandered off on my own to just think for a moment. There’s something about the beach that makes one reflective. As I stood there in the ocean and let my eyes adjust to the moonlight, I slowly waded further in. The waves were just a little bit more intense than I would normally swim in and I couldn’t make it too far without being punched in the face with water. You know the kind of waves where you literally have to plant your feet on the ocean floor for fear of toppling over.. and even while planted, nature still has the ability to uproot you and force you to eat sand and skull salt water.

The ocean is sort of a funny game to me. I sort of stand there and watch the waves come and depending on their size, I adjust my stature and response to equip myself for the wave. If the swell is large enough, like it was this night, you will hear my squeal in mild fear even anticipating the wave. I squeal before it hits – I most definitely work myself up to it.

At a certain point during this spring evening, I decided to turn around and face the shore and let the waves take me by surprise. Maybe I have done this before or maybe even hundreds of times but I doubt I have ever stood and thought so intensely about what I was doing.

Somehow, facing the opposite direction was less scary.

Not at first. Of course at first it’s downright freaky. You just stand there and you have no idea when the wave will hit or how big it will be. I hated it initially and then after a few waves I found myself enjoying it. Preferring it. I let the wave take me and I let my body respond how my body naturally responded. After all, this is nature – who I am to try and control it?

While there’s something to be said about preparation and placing your feet firmly on the ground when life throws you a curve ball – there’s something special about making a choice to turn around, and simply trust.

Its funny how facing the shoreline, I never squealed in fear, just in delight. Sometimes the wave was bigger than it sounded and it sent me under, but sometimes all that came was foam around my ankles and I realised I’d freaked out about nothing. We are way too good at working ourselves into a state of worry, a place of fear. Sometimes I think the best course of action in times of stress or heartache or confusion is to simply fix your eyes on Jesus, on the steady and constant shoreline and enjoy the beauty you still see around you.

If a wave comes, it might throw you off balance. But it also might turn out to be nothing at all. Actually, it might even be beautiful. You might even enjoy it.

Don’t focus on the pain and the problem. Enjoy the small things. Learn to appreciate the beauty that lies in surprise. Life is there to be lived, not anticipated.

Turn around, take your eyes off the waves. Go on, I dare you.

I let the water take me. Florence & the Machine.

Lacklustre

Have you ever felt like you didn’t quite measure up?

I think it happens to us all in one way or a million. Your father expected a certain standard of behaviour from you but you’re always making mistakes. You keep trying your hardest in that relationship to make it work but it seems like no matter what you do – it’s not enough. You’re buying the latest in fashions, rolling your jeans up and buying gadgets galore but “cool” is still all too illusive. I think no matter how you feel it – inadequacy is one of the worst human emotions to experience.

Failure is one thing. It means you tried and maybe you even tried really hard – but you made a mistake. Inadequacy is another matter entirely. It means that no matter what you do – you don’t have it in you to succeed. With failure you would try again and maybe you’d make it. You can bounce back from failure. Inadequate means lacking the quality required. The dictionary defines it as insufficient for a purpose. And it’s honestly the worst.

Perhaps the worst of all inadequacies is feeling insufficient in purpose. Purpose for the only thing you’ve ever wanted to do. What you feel like was your life’s call, life’s purpose.

You wanted to be a musician but someone told you, you had no rhythm.
Insufficient for a purpose.
You wanted to be an author but someone told you, your writing style lacked ‘lustre’.
Insufficient for a purpose.
You wanted to be a doctor or a businessman but someone told you, your grades weren’t good enough.
Insufficient for a purpose.
You felt called to something. And someone told you it just wasn’t a good fit.
Insufficient for your purpose.

It’s actually crushing.
Because after you discover that thing that makes you tick, the thing that makes your heart beat a little bit faster, the thing that makes you soar.. how on earth do you go back to life without it? Life without that dream? Life without purpose?

I guess I don’t really know. Maybe you just do it anyway. Keep trying. Take lessons. Try, try and when all else fails, try again. Perhaps the only thing that gives me any comfort whatsoever is that when I strip it all back, take away all the extra stuff – at the heart of it all – I was actually just made to worship. That is my purpose. To bring God pleasure.

And actually, I am so insufficient for THAT purpose. How at all – can I bring God pleasure and happiness.
Insufficient.
Flawed. Selfish. Broken. Sinner.
Inadequate.

I think that is the single most beautiful thing about God. He takes that which is nothing and makes it stunning. He sees my nothing and finds great promise in it. I think about that whenever I feel inadequate for a purpose, big or small. I try and remember that if the only thing I ever do is make Him happy – then I have succeeded. I have won.

And I do that just by being me.
Sufficient.
Adequate.
He makes me so.
He makes you so.

Dusk.

Don’t you think dusk is the most promising time of the day? For me, it holds the most hope. Maybe I feel that way because that twilight dusk period is my favourite time of day so I’m inclined to feel strongly about it. I am definitely a dusk person.

I am at my most creative at dusk. I am reflective and full of hope. Maybe it’s because I love the colours of dusk. The sun starts to fade and all of sudden pinks and oranges and yellows start appearing everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love blue skies but you can’t beat a sunset.
There’s something refreshing about the way the temperature starts to drop and that’s all you could ever hope for on a crazy summers day. Dusk.
I even love the word itself. Dusk. I think it’s beautiful.
I love how dusk has a different sound. Sure, maybe its insects buzzing but I like how dusk has a distinct sound. Dusk is that glorious in between stage. Being a night person, dusk holds a lot of anticipation. Dusk is exciting.

I think the best thing about dusk though, is that it’s the perfect moment to stop.

Dusk is that space where reflection rules all. You’ve had a full day. It might have been a bad one, or it might have been amazing. You might have achieved everything you set out to and you made some great memories and dusk is the perfect time to stop and be grateful. However – you might have had a terrible day. Maybe you failed. Maybe you hurt someone. Maybe someone hurt you. And dusk can be the perfect time to stop and lament.

I don’t know why, but I just don’t feel that way about dusk. Maybe if it was 10pm and I’d hurt someone, made a massive blunder of my Wednesday. Maybe then I would stop and feel horrid. Maybe I’d wish for a massive oversized eraser so I could just remove today from the calendar. But I don’t feel like that at dusk.

Dusk is full of hope.
Dusk means there’s still time.
Dusk means you can still change today.
There’s still a whole night for correcting wrongs, for saying sorry, doing something for the first time, loving someone.
Dusk means hope.

I think some people feel this way about dawn. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning. I feel like that about dusk. To me, New Years is like dusk.

You stop and reflect on all that happened in the year. You remember your mistakes, those low moments. You’re grateful for the moments of joy and reminisce about them. Maybe you achieved everything you set out to early in the year. You had big dreams, big plans. But maybe you failed. So many of us can’t wait for New Years and not because we’re excited about the New Year, but because we simply can’t wait for it to be over. And so we watch the sun set on 2012 and grateful or not, we wait for 2013.

If you want, if you let it, you might feel something wonderfully frightening seep into your heart.
Hope.
Maybe this year will be different.
Last year is gone but it’s not too late. There’s still time to say sorry. There’s a whole year for correcting wrongs, doing things for the first time. Love.
Dusk means hope.