I turned opened my blinds and could see that it was going to be another beautiful day on the beach. As I was peering out the window I sensed God saying “Come closer.” So I lifted the blinds thinking that was close enough. The sun was beginning to rise over the mountain behind me and the sky was illuminating pink on the top of the water and fog. It was so beautiful. I felt Him inviting me to “Come closer” still. I hesitated, I had just gotten out of bed, it was so warm in my room, I would have to move after all if I were to come closer. I knew it was okay to stay but the invitation was too good to pass up and didn’t want to miss out on what I was being invited to. I slipped on my shoes and coat, grabbed my coffee money for later and snuck out the door on a walk with the Lord.
My feet hit the sand and I was already glad I had gotten out of my comfy seat, bed head and all. No one was around, just me, my thoughts, the beautiful ocean, and an open ear to whatever God wanted to say to me. I love how the sky is so gentle and calming when the sun is setting or rising. Cotton candy pink swirls around and sits on top of rocks and water and oozes serenity.
I walked for a while, taking in the rugged landscape that this coast offers. Gulls calling out, waves crashing, picking up a broken but beautiful shell every now and again, taking a picture of some small creature at my feet, enjoying the art left behind from some other soul enjoying the beach. My senses are awake and alive to the beauty.
I began to pass a few people on the beach. There were only a handful of us wandering the dimly lit shore. Then I had this sense that God was reminding me that sometimes He will call me out to do things that others aren’t doing. I may feel alone in taking the invitation and call to come closer because there may not be as many being asked to do the same thing. Yikes, immediately I think I sure hope He’s not going to ask me to do something scary, lonely, out of my comfort zone. But that’s often what happens and I’ve experienced that through infertility, open adoption, and college ministry to name a few. The call to come closer can be risky, scary, lonely at times but also rich, raw, rewarding, and you get to experience God’s closeness in new ways. Maybe this reminder is preparation for something new to come and maybe not. I’m not sure but I want to always take Him up on His offer to come closer. I also sense God is saying, “You may be called to do something the majority isn’t, but resist the urge to compare or judge what they are doing. They may be resisting my call to come and choose to stay and be comfortable, missing out, OR they may just be doing what I have made them to do and it’s not better or worse than what I’m asking you to do.” Ugh, so hard. I’m critical, judgy (is that a word?) and prone to comparison and God knows and see’s it. This plays out in life, ministry, and motherhood often. I need to do what God has called me to do and let others do what they are called to do, leaving the comparison game out of it.
I pause to take pictures, because I can’t pass up this beauty, it must be captured (I have an addiction to taking pictures but I’m alone and no one to tell me I already have 50 sunrise pictures). The sun is beginning to peak over and light up the tops of the rocks, the waves are glowing, the dark places off in the distance are beginning to be illuminated. I can see things out there now that I couldn’t see when the sun was down. Such a great picture of what God does for me as well. When I come closer He shines light on my dark places, he illuminates things that I didn’t know were there. He makes things glow in His glory that otherwise seem dull and foggy.
The tide is rising quickly now and at one point I have to run from what seemed like a fast moving sneaker wave. By the time I return to my room , coffee in hand now, the path I just walked is covered in water. Had I not taken God up on His offer to come closer I would have missed that walk entirely before having to head home. Once again I’m so thankful for His invitation, His presence, and that I didn’t hesitate too long and miss out on a refreshing sunrise walk and time with my great Creator.
(This was one of my reflections on the second day of my spiritual retreat. It’s safe to say that “come closer” was a theme for my time away.)