I love the new places. I think I am blessed to be one of those people that is not derailed by change on a grand scale. That having been said, I have not yet had to deal with disastrous change on a grand scale; although, there have been some startling changes that I have encountered. Nonetheless, I tend to thrive on change. I love for the routine to be broken up; in fact, I am not a fan of routine unless it comes to my daughter. Then I L-O-V-E it because it is such a good thing for her. But for me - no. At...the...same...time....I am also not a huge risk-taker. You will not find me bungee-jumping; in fact, you might even be hard-pressed to get me on a rollercoaster. Pack up my belongings and spend three weeks in China? Okay. But hop on the pirate ship ride at the State Fair? You might as well forget it.
Several years ago I visited Gulf Shores with a friend from college, and for the first time since I had begun going to the beach, I had a real problem going into the water. We were walking along the shore one night, and we saw tons of jellyfish washed up on the sand, and it just freaked me out. I thought - if those things are in the water, and they can sting me, I am NOT going in. So I spent most of the rest of the trip just chilling in the sand. Which, of course, was fine with me because I ended up getting very, very tan. It was a long time before I had the opportunity to go back to the beach, and when I did - same thing. I couldn't go too far into the water without worrying about what was in there. I was partially paralyzed by fear, and I couldn't just enjoy being in the ocean.
I was walking along the beach on Friday morning...and I can't tell you how much joy it gives me just to be able to say that...and I was listening to my iPod, and I just started to feel this sense of freedom. It was amazing - like my heart was so light, because God has given me such an amazingly good life, and I have so much that makes me happy. And I started thinking about fear, and how I allow it to paralyze me sometimes in the smallest areas of my life (see: wasps and bees) and also the larger areas of my life. And I thought to myself - I am on vacation, dang it. And I am not going to be afraid of anything. I am going to trust that God loves me and probably doesn't want me to get stung by a jellyfish, but that even if I do get stung by a jellyfish, He will get me through. And so, it was with no small amount of abandon that I leapt into the ocean on Friday of last week, and for the first time in years did not teeter on the edge of panic at the thought of all the jellyfish, sand crabs and other various and sundry ocean critters that may have been lurking just below the surface, waiting to grab hold of my legs and sting me with a fierce enough vengeance to land me in the ER for the remainder of my trip. In fact, if you can believe it, Kim and I were so far from shore that our beach chairs were the size of Cheerios, and we were jumping into the waves and giggling like 14 year olds.
It was the best moment of my trip, and I hope I can relive it next year with my daughter. I hope I can be the kind of woman that can run into the ocean and jump into waves - even the scary ones - because I am trusting my Father to take care of me. I want to be fearless.
"...for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2Ti 1:7)