I can’t remember the last time I took a vacation, so my weeklong stay in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida off “Scenic 30A” was a much-needed break. Time away is always a restorative experience for me so I don’t know why I always fight it and convince myself I’m ‘too busy.’ Whether it’s a small trip to familiar territory or discovering ‘new ground’ by the river, I’m always transformed by vacation time.
Along the shores of 30A I experienced…
Rest and Reflection
I didn’t just sleep a lot, I pressed pause on my business. I’d actually planned to do a ‘little work,’ but I changed that plan as soon as I arrived in Florida. As an entrepreneur, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. This reality is sometimes too much because it makes you feel like you can’t say ‘no’ or go away. Yet, I knew that for me to be at my best, I needed rest. Since striking out on my own, I’ve been going full-speed, publishing and promoting Faith Beats Fear and taking on PR consulting clients alongside my everyday family responsibilities. I needed time to think about my personal and professional goals. By disconnecting, I gained a fresh perspective on so much and I know I’m returning to work refreshed and READY!
As soon as we arrived, I hit the beach because the ocean is always a connection point to the Creator. Digging my toes into the sand, inhaling that fresh, cool air and listening to the churn and crash of waves, reminded me of the divinity of His work and how small I am in this big ole world.
Part of the purpose of the trip was to attend the 30A Songwriter’s Festival which featured hundreds of very talented musicians. Being surrounded by this level of creativity and artistry rubs off on you! Listening to writers describe their journeys made me feel not so alone in this deep desire to creatively share stories with people. One performance by The Mulligan Brothers stuck with me. In the song Kaleidoscope, they sang, “I wanna feel like something God made even if it hurts sometimes. I wanna live and die the long way even if it’s hard sometimes.”
Ah, yes!! All this time, I’d been comparing myself to the ocean, I neglected to note that God made me too. And this is a wonderful feeling!! Take a listen:
The Presence of God
While I didn’t touch work, I couldn’t escape reality while on vacation. Negative headlines caught my attention. The noticeable shift in my country’s political landscape followed me all the way to Florida. I felt moments of despair, anger and shock. The future…it didn’t look as bright as that beautiful, warm sun that bared down on me. If anything, the days/months/years felt overwhelmingly bleak–like those big waves jumping higher into the air that would surely drown anyone who dared to venture that far out.
During my daily devotional time, I read Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. Having just come from the beach and marveling at the crashing waves, her words were indeed timely:
…You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to Face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up. The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today’s waves. The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future! Stay close to Me.” Excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
The future–the next few days and weeks, this year — is in the distance and we don’t know what to expect. From where we stand, fear naturally invades our minds and souls because nothing is certain. Well, there is One. And He Created me and you with a wonderful purpose in mind.
So if you’ve gotten off track, maybe you need to go on vacation too ;).