Toes dug in the sand, the water laps at my feet, sending chills up my back. I shuffle forward until the water reaches my ankles and suck in my breath. The beach chair and library book beckon, but the last time I came to the beach, I promised myself that I would get into the water.
It’s too cold. I’ll have to wash my hair. Sticky salt will cake my skin.
You promised. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Be adventurous, not a stick in the mud.
My mascara will run.
You’ll enjoy it. It will brighten your eyes. You’ll be so glad you did.
I move to my knees and shiver.
The longer I wait, the more likely I will retreat, but this wading bit by bit into the water is not working. Wherever the waterline touches my body, whether ankles, knees or hips, the water will feel frigid. As long as I feel water below and air above, I’ll grit my teeth.
If I want to get in, to experience the whole beach, I must dive in all at once.
I’ve got to get wet.
Working through any new task works the same way. If I dabble, I won’t make it to the end. I’ll quit somewhere after two, two days, two weeks, or two chapters. The bookmark won’t advance. I’ll turn the book in to the library unfinished.
I sat on the love-seat with pen, study and Bible. Seeing the first assigned verse I thought, “Oh, I know that verse. I don’t need to look it up.”
BAM. There it was, I knew what I was doing and what the result would be, nothing and nothing. I needed to read the familiar words again. I needed to see them, put them in my mouth, chew and swallow if I wanted the exercise to affect me.
I needed to get wet.
With a resigned sigh, I prayed for enlightenment and looked up the verse. I thought about each verse and what the phrases might mean to the whole and how the whole spoke to the snippet of scripture in the study question.
The Bible astonished me with revelation.
Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.”
The words live and can dive deep, if I allow them. They are dynamic and can teach me something new every time I examine them, if I approach them with the Holy Spirit’s help and I’m “all-in.”
I’m tempted to pray or study as quickly as I can so that I can get to-dos done, but I’m not really talking to God or asking him to show himself to me expectantly. Instead, I’m running through a list without looking at him, like asking my husband how his day was and not listening to his meaning, or asking someone how they’re doing as I walk past.
I’m half in, half out, divided between God and what I want to do, and it feels chilly and uninviting, even repellant. My chores beckon.
You’re cheating God. You’re cheating yourself.
I have so much to do. I know all this stuff already.
If you do it half heartedly, you’ll abandon it. You’ll regret it.
It will make me feel uncomfortable.
It will brighten your eyes. You’ll be so glad you did.
I dive in head first so that I’m dripping from head to foot.
I’m always glad I when I do.
Day 2 from Running to the Empty Tomb