Beach vacations are necessary. There’s something about the sound of crashing waves that allows me to hit the reset button. One girl on the trip, Megan, kept pointing out how healing the salt water is. She’s right. There’s something healing about letting go of cares and worries, letting yourself float for a minute, and soaking in the warmth of the sun.
Saturday morning I got up early with Mindi and went out to the beach. While she went for a run I rolled out my yoga mat to sit on and read my Bible. I’ve been in Isaiah lately in my reading plan, and I was so excited that I was scheduled to read Isaiah 54 (my life chapter for the past year+) while at the beach. God had already been showing his love in the chapters leading up to it, and Saturday morning was no different when I read Isaiah 52:12
For you shall not go out in haste,
And you shall no go in flight.
For the Lord will go before you
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
That morning I thought about how my tendency is to go in haste, to take flight. I’m not talking about “fight or flight” here, but I am saying that my tendency is to not go slow. We run. I run. I make plans before seeking God’s will. I get in a hurry to see a thing accomplished so I take the reigns again. I get impatient. I guess this is true of a lot of people since God through his Word takes the time to tell us not to do it. The Lord tells us to slow down. Don’t go hastily. Stop running ahead.
A Rear Guard
We (I) need to wait for the Lord to go ahead of us. This part makes sense to me. He will go before us and clear the way. We follow him, not on our own plans. But why do I need a rear guard? I paused to think about it. Practically speaking I think having a rear guard implies that there may be danger behind us. Someone or something can come at us from behind to attack. This enemy could be a friend from an old life, a memory, or a past mistake. A song, a smell, a word, a place, a Facebook post, a picture…. these things can come to attack when I least expect it. God is there to be my rear guard. He not only clears the way ahead, he protects me from what’s behind. This is good news.
I prayed that God would help that truth to sink into my heart, to help me understand it, to help me utilize it. I prayed that he would let me let him go before and be my rear guard. I prayed that he would help me trust that he is faithful, reliable, and cautious on my behalf.
It was a good morning to watch the waves and to talk with God. An hour or so later the four of us met with Ann Carroll who I had been emailing with about a private beach yoga class. We had a lot of fun with her, and I was able to check “morning beach yoga” off of my “30 Things Before 30” checklist. I loved relaxing, stretching, and gently exercising in front of the ocean. Hearing the waves, noticing the birds, smelling the salty air… I was blissfully happy that morning. We were even visited by some little crabs on our mats. (They weren’t hurt. We just brushed them away.) Leigh got a tan line from her yoga pants, and I got a picture in mermaid pose. It was so much fun!
Ann asked us to do something toward the end of class. She asked us to sit in a comfortable easy pose and to bring our awareness and focus to one thing: the light reflecting on the water, the waves, the breath, whatever we wanted. She asked us just to focus and to be fully present. After a few moments she said,
When your mind starts to wander to the future,what’s to come, or to the past, what has been, bring your focus back to the light on the water, to your breath, to the waves, whatever it is you were focused on. Be present here, now.
I nearly cried. How perfect? When my mind starts to run, when it starts to take flight, I need to bring my focus back to the Lord. When I worry about what’s to come, or when the past re-enters my mind and heart, I need to remember that the Lord goes before me and that he is my rear guard. Just like focusing on the light reflecting on the water, I should fix my eyes on the Light that guides my path: Jesus.
It was the most perfect day.