If Grace is an Ocean
Okay, so I posted this on my own blog over the summer, but I found it a really important reminder this morning, and I hope you will too. Much love.
I love the ocean. I love the way it sounds. I love the way the air makes me breathe easier. I love how no matter how many books I read or people I talk to or waves I ride, it always manages to captivate my attention again. Because it begs to be noticed by it’s sheer magnitude and beauty.
The ocean fascinates me. And I think part of the reason it fascinates me is because so many of it’s characteristics remind me of God. And I don’t mean some unknowable, distant, strange, vague God that some people talk about. I mean the real God. The one who knows just as much about galaxies and quarks as he does every thought in my heart or yours. And that’s just it. He’s a God full of paradoxes, just like the ocean.
So endless, but so accessible. Something so unfathomable and yet right at your fingertips. Always in rhythm, but never predictable. It instills a reverent fear, and yet you just want to know it. Peaceful, but overwhleming. Unquestionably strong and powerful, but just as quick to be serene and breathtaking. Sometimes people forget to be grateful for it, even if it’s right in front of them.
My good friend Jess was telling me how she is reading this book. It’s called, “The Fine Line”. She said it’s all about how we discover that fine line between being in the world but not of the world, and what that really looks like. How do we go from world-watchers to world-changers? How do we keep ourselves relevant to our culture but remain faithful to our calling?
With these questions in mind, and the huge mysterious expanse of ocean spraying cool mist on my face, I stared out at the horizon on Thursday morning. And lo (okay that’s a clearly anachronistic word choice, but I’ve always wanted to say it…so deal) AND LO, there in front of us is a person on a surfboard/paddleboard ( I don’t know the difference. Apologies), out about 300 yards from the shore. I mean, they were WAY out. Like, if they got caught in a rip tide, I don’t know what they would do. But I assumed they were a lifeguard or something so I let it go. But anyway, this person was out on their board, amidst the choppy waves, facing the horizon….doing YOGA. Let me stress again, they weren’t just standing there with their hands in prayer position…they were doing hardcore-warrior 2- warrior 3-one leg in the air -handstand- kind of yoga.
On their paddleboard… surfboard..miracle board of all things awesome.
So Jess and I, in complete awe, proceeded to watch this mysterious surfer yoga paddler person. And the entire time, this person was in complete balance. Their foot did not slip, their board did not falter, their gaze did not shift. Yoga…on the waves.
After a few moments Jess whispers, ” I can’t even do that on land.”
And there it was, real quick in my head. The thoughts of the fine line and the paddler yoga person, and the ocean and God..all twirling together into a pattern I didn’t recognize until that moment.
And I felt like I heard God say, “Christie. That person. They are more familiar with the ways of the ocean than they are with the ways of the earth.”
They are more familiar with the ways of the ocean than the ways of the earth. It is easier for them to balance in the ocean because they have grown accustomed to it’s movement, to it’s patterns, to the way it feels under their feet. They know it because every morning they spend time practicing, feeling it, moving with it until they understand how to time their movements with its movements. That person has figured out the fine line.
Because if God is the ocean, they are more familiar with God’s ways than the world’s ways. Because they spend every morning looking into God’s face— the great mysterious endless and knowable God’s— face. And even though eventually they will turn around and come back to the world, they are always more concerned with God’s ways than the world’s ways. That’s the key.
And the other part? Doing yoga on a surfboard,makes doing yoga on land seem like cake. Balance is better, strength is stronger, your focus is clearer.
Spending time in God’s presence, better equips you to do his work in the world.
I love that image of being sunk in God’s grace. So consumed by it, so completely caught up in it that you get everything else around you drenched in it. So as we walk that fine line, I hope we don’t forget to turn our faces toward the author and perfecter of our faith, and know his ways, as unknowable and knowable as they are. And know his ways so well that it fits our feet with the balance and readiness it takes to do his work on earth. To focus our eyes on him often enough that his will comes more naturally. That we would become more comfortable being in his presence than being out of it. That our time with him would empower us to change ourselves, and change the world.
Like I said…I love the ocean. It fascinates me.