I remember the first time I went surfing. Driving down to San Diego for the first time, I was ready to meet up with my good friend and pro surfer to go hit the waves. Well he wasn’t really a ‘pro’ surfer, but from my perspective he was one of the really cool dudes out there that could actually stand up for a while and make a few turns. The anticipation and nerves welled up in my stomach. I was nervous, excited, scared, aggressive and soulful all at the same time. As I looked out to my right just past San Clemente I saw the crystal blue mass of an ocean that was ready to swallow me up unto it’s wet blanket. The sun in the sky looked down at the scene as a curious spectator awaits a circus act before the first call. “As long at the board doesn’t hit me on the head” I thought, “I’ll be OK”.
Before I knew it, we were at the beach. Walking across the cold sand I fumbled with the 8 foot board trying to look cool in my black neoprene suit. “Alright dude, just follow me” my buddy said as he rushed into the surf looking as cool as Kelly Slater at pipeline. “The waves didn’t look this big from the parking lot” I thought to myself. The 3 foot waves seemed to tower well overhead in my mind’s eye as I waded out into the huge swimming pool of the pacific ocean. “Wow it’s cold out here, I thought as I squared my board towards the sand to try and catch a whitewater musher of a wave.”
Then it happened.
I rode the whitewater wave on my stomach, went to stand up, and looking like a goon my board shot straight up into the air, my body went straight down and yep…the freakin’ board came down right on top of my head with a huge “CRACK!”
A little dazed, I looked around to see my buddy laughing at me. “At least you got it out of the way man. First wave even!” He knew my biggest fear was getting whacked in the head with the board.
“Yeah man, guess I am still alive”, I yelled back.
Paddling back into the salty fangs of the evil ocean, I tried again but this time I stood up the whole way. I loved the exhilaration of this new sport! The organic connection to God’s earth, and the illusion of conquering something bigger than myself was the soulful sport of choice.
As I progressed in my skill, I sought out bigger and bigger waves. I still had a few limits, but the three foot surf that scared the tar out of me was a walk in the park. So strange how perspective changes.
I don’t get out there and surf as much as I’d like to now. I guess training for triathlons has taken over my active life like a virus. I do miss surfing though, and a thought this past week brought me back to that place I was at as a beginner.
Life has been a little rough for me lately, and I have struggled trying to make some sense of it all. The world around me seems to be crumbling bit by bit. One of my best friends at work got laid off on Monday, and when she left the office, she took a piece of my soul and passion for my work with her. I have been questioning what I am working so hard for everyday, and wondering if there is another company out there that would appreciate my worth. Externally, I have been watching the stock market fall and rebound like a worn out rubber band. A message of hope has been married to a fearful group of investors. My emotions seem to reach new highs and lows on an hourly basis. Doors that I thought God had opened for me were an illusion of opportunity, although I know in my heart that I would have been perfect in the new situation and added value. I am struggling to gain control…..
Remember those waves Tim?
There has to be a peaceful exhilarating place in the middle of what looks like this chaos.
I just finished reading the book “The Shack” this past week, and without giving the story away, there is a part where a guy walks on the water with Jesus. I couldn’t stop thinking about this part and relate it to the only time I have ever walked on water. Surfing. God was telling me something in all of this, and it is beautiful. He is my board, and better yet, he is never going to let me drown. My focus and confidence has to rely in him in order to make it.
God, give me the strength.
I started thinking about how differently pro surfers view the ocean as opposed to a meager beginner surfer. The 12 foot surf is exciting to a pro while the 3 foot waves are nothing. The perspective of confidence brings freedom and conquers fear. Despite the bleak and changing surroundings in our world today, our growing relationship in Christ brings freedom. Like a surfer drawn to the ocean, we will walk into the challenges of this world with no fear, much to the surprise of onlookers. Sure we will fall, but Christ is there to pick us up. With him we can walk on water.
Matthew 14:24-32 (NIV)
The boat was already a long way from land. It was being pounded by the waves because the wind was blowing against it. Early in the morning, Jesus went out to the disciples. He walked on the lake. They saw him walking on the lake and were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said. And they cried out in fear.
Right away Jesus called out to them, “Be brave! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, is it you?” Peter asked. “If it is, tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” Jesus said. So Peter got out of the boat. He walked on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. He began to sink. He cried out, “Lord! Save me!”
Right away Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “Your faith is so small!” he said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those in the boat worshiped Jesus. They said, “You really are the Son of God!”