Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beach Retreat

So on Tuesday morning, I hopped in my car, turned the music way up, and drove all the way to the coast, stopping along the way for coconut shrimp from Red Lobster. I needed some time alone. I needed some beach time. And most of all, I needed some time alone with God, to process the summer, and to process my life, and to plan for this busy, exciting, demanding year ahead. The year in which I, you know, graduate from law school.

About a week and a half ago I had called to reserve a room for one night at a hotel right on the beach, so that's where I stayed. It was the best. This trip was exactly what I needed. It was the first time I've ever gone on vacation by myself, but this time, I knew that it was the right thing to do and what I would find most relaxing. There are plenty of times when it's so much more fun to go with my law school girls or other friends, but this time, I needed it to just be me, my beach towel, my Bible, and my journal. And it was wonderful.

I spent the better part of my waking hours for two days on the beach. I walked on the shoreline for hours, sat in the sun and pondered my life, swam in the ocean and jumped the waves like a little kid, and even got up in time to see the sunrise yesterday morning. It was beyond beautiful:


Watching that sunrise was pure therapy for me after a tough last few months, and I felt like God had made it just for me. When it was over, I sat in that swing pictured above and read the Bible and felt like, for the first time in an admittedly long time, I was consciously trying to listen to the voice of God--trying to drown out all the other unbelievably loud and chaotic voices in my life and just be quiet and listen. We all have those other voices in our lives--voices of people constantly telling us more that we need to do and be and accomplish, voices from the media and popular culture telling us how our bodies and our minds and our lives do, or do not, measure up, voices from our past that hold us back, and you name it. The thing is, it is harder to seek out the voice of God above those other voices because we have to so consciously and so intentionally seek it out, and we have to quiet our minds and our hearts enough to be able to hear it. But I felt like God was speaking to my heart this: "Don't choose to listen to other voices more than you listen to my voice just because it is easier and takes less effort to do so. Seek out my voice even amidst the noise of your life. And if other voices in your life are telling you anything that contradicts what I tell you, you need to listen to me."
And really, this is part of being still and knowing that He is God, that He will be exalted among the nations, that He will be exalted on the earth. Just because the voices around you are telling you every day that you don't measure up, or that you are not beautiful or smart or successful enough, or perhaps even that you are a failure or incompetent or a loser or worthless, doesn't mean you have to listen to them and internalize their messages. Just because it's easier to hear those voices doesn't make those messages true. Not when God is whispering into our hearts His truth--that He delights in us; that He has called us BY NAME and we are His; that He quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with singing; that we are part of a holy nation and a royal priesthood; that He had a plan and purpose for our lives before the world ever began. That is what's true and real and worth listening to.
I am claiming God's purposes for my life as I enter 3L--my last year of law school. This is a big year of wrapping up all my formal higher education, determining where I want to live and work, preparing to take the bar exam, and just in general, making decisions that will probably affect my life for a long time after I walk across the stage and receive my diploma in May. But the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me, and He is my Redeemer, who teaches me what is best for me and directs me in the way I should go. I will rely on Him. I will trust Him no matter what the world around me says, because He is truly, abundantly, and undeservedly faithful.

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