“The water feels warm today,” a man told my sister, Carol, as she walked along the shore.
She shared with me what he said and suggested we try going in–later–despite the fact that the water temp was only around 68.
My sister is down here in Florida for her Christmas vacation from school as a teacher in a suburb of Chicago. She and I were spending several days on the beach together. On this particular day Carol and I saw quite a few people enjoying time in the water. It was windy, so the waves were pretty big.
In the afternoon, equipped with a body surfing board, I headed from our motel down to the water, determined to go in and enjoy the waves despite the low temp of air and water and lack of sunshine. Carol was still considering the whole idea.
The water felt cold, as I expected, but the waves were inviting.
“How can I possibly adjust to the coldness of this water?” I wondered. Also, the air temperature the last time we checked was 71 degrees.
Once I was wet over most of my body besides my face and head, I started body surfing. Soon my whole body–including my head and face–was submerged as I enjoyed riding the waves to shore.
The amazing part came as I adjusted. Before long the water felt warm even though the air felt a bit chilly. I felt like I could stay in the surf all day. I remembered my father saying that if the wind is blowing from a certain direction, you can feel warmer. The thought of the wind warming me reminded me of the Holy Spirit who in Scripture is compared to the wind.
I went to get Carol and urge her to come in, so we could enjoy the experience together.
“I can’t,” she said, “I’m too cold.” Usually when there are visitors from up north those roles are reversed with me saying, “I’m too cold.”
Carol sat on the patio of our motel watching me with her coat on.
As I enjoyed the water, feeling bonded to the Lord because I was doing something that seemed impossible, I couldn’t help thinking of my spiritual life.
How many times I have said, “I can’t do that,” when God has called me to a task in the spiritual realm. Excuses come to mind, and I embrace “that’s impossible” thinking.
Just as I wanted to say of going into the surf in December, “the water’s too cold,” “the air’s too cold,” “I could never get used to the water,” “I’ll die if I do,” I have the same kind of excuses when God calls me to do something difficult spiritually.
As I reflect on that experience earlier this week, I can say I really enjoyed my time in the water. I continue to celebrate doing what seemed impossible, and the bond I felt with the Lord. While I was in the Gulf, I felt invigorated. I felt alive.
And because of moving beyond excuses to do what lay before me, I feel stronger spiritually. I am reminded of this verse:
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me… Philippians 4:13 AMP
Thank You, Lord, for giving me that experience which I will never forget. I will let it serve as a reminder to move past excuses and move forward with You obeying whatever You call me to—especially as I embrace a new year.
On the other side of doing so is joy.