Riding the Waves
By Sean Slagle, the author of Who I Am: Reflections From Ephesians 1 and 2, and The Sixth Commandment for Northside Books & Media, as well as the Floyd's Gap series A Dirge for the Malice. The text from this article will appear in the upcoming non-fiction collection It Is Well With My Soul.
Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. - Psalm 48:9
One of the changes in my spiritual walk is taking time in the morning to open God’s word and meditate upon it. The day seems to go better when I do this – not because things go my way but because I have a peace within me that carries me through the day, no matter what happens.
I also feel the effects when I don’t take time to read, pray, and meditate. It’s like I’m not centered in who God wants me to be, like something is off. It’s off a little on the first day, a little more the second day, further the third until I’m so far away that I must fight within myself to get back.
Years ago, we went to Dayton Beach on vacation. In fact, it was more than a few years ago – it was 2001, because my son was not yet two and my daughter was a few months from blessing us with her presence. I was out riding the waves on a boogie board and took a moment to rest. I floated on the water and let the waves lull me. When I finally decided to look up, I was far from where I had started and had moved down the beach away from the lifeguards and crowds of people.
I slid off the board to run back to the beach, but I couldn’t touch the ocean floor. I got back on the board and paddled, but the paddling seemed useless as I was fighting against the current, which seemed to pull me further and further out to sea.
No one knew I was there. I worked hard, using every bit of energy I had to get to shallower water and back onto the beach. I wanted someone to help me, just to give me a pull, but there was no one around. I couldn’t rest, because if I did, the current would pull me back out and wipe out the gains I’d worked so hard to accomplish. I had to keep kicking and swimming. I had to get back to the calm and safety of the beach. At this point, I felt like my life depended on it; I could drown before anyone knew I had drifted so far away.
By God’s grace, I made it back to shore, where I collapsed on the sand and rested. The battle had been grueling, but I knew what was at stake. My well-being depended on it. My family depended on it. My friends depended on it. And through this trial, I learned the importance of staying aware of where I am in the water and making small adjustments to stay where I’m supposed to be. Riding the waves is much more enjoyable that way.
The upcoming book by Sean Slagle entitled Who I Am: Reflections From Ephesians 1 and 2 looks at what these chapters say about who we are in God's eyes.
Too often we are beat down by how others see us, and perhaps even more strongly and damaging is how we see ourselves. When we see ourselves as God sees us, a whole new image is formed, an image that can only be created through Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit.
These short reflections will help you see yourself for who you are in Christ.
You are blessed, chosen, holy and blameless, adopted, loved, given grace, redeemed, forgiven, lavished on, knowledgeable, predestined, included in Christ, marked with a seal, called to hope, powerful, valued, alive, raised up, God’s handiwork, brought near, a fellow citizen, a member of God’s household, and a dwelling.
You can learn more about the author at www.seanslagle.com