Wow. It has been a looonnng time since I last talked with y’all, and while my reaction is to apologize for my absence, it has been very much needed, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
I may have mentioned my Spring Break trip I was planning back in March to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, for some much needed relaxation and isolation. I wanted some solo time where I was able to make my own schedule, go wherever and do whatever I wanted, and also the beach is my happy place. I immediately feel more at peace whenever I’m near one. It may be the salt in the air and the wind in my hair…rhyming not intended haha but it’s true. Fewer things make me as happy as I am when on a beach.
A lot of people ask me how I travel by myself and if it ever feels lonely; I’m outgoing and I really enjoy meeting new people, especially the locals of wherever I’m traveling to, but I also know how to enjoy my own company and not feel bored. The joy of reading, taking walks, and simply sitting on the beach was so refreshing after being busy and constantly surrounded by people and kids everyday for my job. There was one day when a big rainstorm hit hard for about half an hour, and I just sat with a coffee and a book under an awning on the pier and waited for it to pass. It was so serene, and when the rain ceased, I was the only one on the beach so it felt like I had my own private island! (*see the picture above from right after the storm*)
So, needless to say, my trip was very restful in terms of peace and quiet, but what made more of an impact on me was the rest I found in being still and talking to God. There was an evening when I was feeling a bit melancholy and I found myself sitting down on the beach, knees curled up to my chest, a few tears falling down my cheeks as I watched the sunset. I read once that loneliness is God’s call to fellowship with Him, so I put my headphones in and turned my iPod to shuffle, and the very first song that came on was Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong UNITED.
I was floored. God felt so close to me in that moment, and I’m constantly amazed and humbled to know that God knows my heart and my inner thoughts, and He cares. He cares, so much so that He showed up right there on that beach and spoke His comfort to me in a way that He knew I would understand. I believe God speaks to people in different ways, or rather, we feel closest to God in different ways. For me, it’s through nature, music, and conversations with people. Now if you’re not a believer and you think that this hasn’t happened to you, or you desire to experience it, look for those moments that you would normally deem as “coincidences”-the moments where someone makes a comment to you or something occurs in your life that happens at the right moment and no one would have known that you needed it right then and there. In those moments, open your heart to acknowledge that it isn’t coincidence, and instead that it is God working in your heart and life. You’ll be amazed at how often and how much He is there for you.
So there I was, sitting on the beach, my salty tears echoing the salty waves crashing right in front of me, and I just got to bask in the reminder of God’s love and its unending depths, even when my feet fail and my heart doubts. Now if you think I was crying before, you should have seen me then! I was that random tourist girl blubbering like a baby by herself haha. But I didn’t care!! I felt such peace and comfort at that moment, and was also blessed with this fabulous masterpiece of a sunset that God painted for me as I sat there.
After Spring Break, I was on the marathon grind of trying to make it to the end of the school year (all my teachers out there know what I mean!), and get my summer started. I had a week of volleyball camp to coach right after school ended, so my summer didn’t actually start until June 10th. Since then, I have continued to get my rest, but in different ways. I took a weekend trip to Austin, Tx, with a gal pal of mine and also got to celebrate my friend’s baby shower while in town. I found forms of rest through the joy of doing absolutely nothing on my trip and it was BLISS! My friend Ali and I ate good food, hung out in the park and read, and did some spontaneous shenanigans as well ;P I just enjoyed not having a schedule and being able to focus on the people I was with and being able to have a leisurely meal without rushing to the next thing.
Then, last week I went to my parent’s house in good ole East TX, and I had a blast just relaxing in the summer heat. I spent my days laying by the pool, reading lots of new books, going to yoga, and playing Phase 10 and Chinese Checkers with the fam. Ziggy always enjoys his time at Grandpa and Bebbo’s house (yes, my parents use their grandparent names for my cat, aka their fur grandchild) because he gets to roam around outside in the yard and stay out late on the back porch. He needs it though, because he’s gotten fa-I mean, fluffy 😉
Spending time with my parents was a blast; one morning we went to the blueberry farm in the next town over, and on our way we passed a cool restaurant that we hadn’t been to, so we spontaneously stopped in and ate breakfast there. I loved the freedom to just do that (can you tell yet that I’m tired of schedules lol?), plus it was super yummy! I also got to have one of my summer goals (actually, DREAMS!) fulfilled when I got to my parent’s house and found a SPRINKLED DONUT FLOATIE!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH! I’ve been wanting to float on one of those for forever haha, don’t judge me. I even have one on my pop socket on my phone lol, it’s a thing. Can’t you see how happy I am?!
It’s only the beginning of summer, but already I’m feeling more refreshed, rested, and a bit more restored- all because of how I’ve been doing nothing, even though my “nothing” has actually been me being present in the moments I find myself in, not pushing my own agenda, and rather enjoying where I am and who I’m with. I’m often reminded and sometimes surprised at how God uses situations in our lives to reflect our relationship with Him and His love for us. This rest that I’ve found by being still yet present in my life reminds me a lot of Jesus’ call for us to abide in Him.
Abide. By definition, it simply means to comply with, or follow, as if referring to rules. If you abide with something or someone, it means that you live with or can stand it. To me, that is the equivalent of tolerating something, which is not what comes to mind when I think about abiding in Christ. To me, to abide in Jesus is to feel the same joy and peace in simply resting in Him, just as I felt restoration of peace by doing nothing on my trips. I didn’t feel like I had no purpose, rather I had no set plan, yet I still felt secure, at peace, and elated at the possibilities that this freedom could bring.
And that is JUST like the freedom found in abiding in Christ! I may not have a set plan for my life, or even my day, but when I abide in Christ’s love and will over my life, I can rest in the peace that comes with the knowledge that He is in control. I can get excited about all of the possibilities and spontaneity that can occur through Christ’s leading. Like John 15:4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” I want to bear the fruit of a life lived by abiding in Christ. However, I have to be intentional about this way of living; abiding is a verb, an action that I have to take, whereas doing nothing requires no effort at all. But I know in my heart that the effort will be worth it-plus, I will get so much REST when resting in Christ.
“Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.” -Thomas S. Monson
What are ways that you have found rest in your life, or ways that Christ has reached out to you in times of need? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave a comment, message me on instagram, or send me an email!
Live fearlessly authentic -J