While sitting at the beach and during my time there I wrote down lessons I learned and/or observed and want to remember. In my life I get so busy I forget things that made me pause. This list is in no particular order and I will elaborate on some and some speak for themselves. Some are amusing and some deep. Mind you my list was written on a few sheets from a list from a friend (Thanks Jamie) and my pen is still full on sand and I can’t click it back in. I am keeping the original lists as a reminder of what is important and tucking them away in my calendar, so as the year gets crazy I can reflect back to the moments at the beach.
1. When you get knocked down get back up for the next wave. Sam loves to “wrestle” the waves. They would knock him down and he would get right back up. He did not lay there and cry or complain or get frustrated. He stood back up ready to fight the next wave. How many times do I get knocked down that I sit and complain or whine or have self pity. Lesson learned – get knocked down – get back up – to keep fighting.
2. If you don’t get back up you will drown. The other danger of not getting back up is the waves will keep coming. They are not going to stop just because I am down. Just like life… It isn’t going to stop just because I need to have a pity party. Life goes on and I can choose to lay there getting crashed by the waves of self-pity and get deeper in over my head or get up! I can choose to drown in my mess because I don’t resolve to just get back up!
3. Never underestimate or undermine someone’s self-confidence. Shame on me for people watching and busting on people’s swim suits (okay except for the man in the speedos with flames – speedos are just WRONG). I am great about judging people in their suits because for some reason I believe you should be covered, especially if a certain size. And you can say that is prejudiced, but keep in mind I am a very large girl. In reality I should be impressed that they have the self confidence to wear that suit. That they truly don’t care what others think about them. Instead of me who wears something to cover as much as possible and generally all dark colors. This year Mary even wore a two piece suit, and as much as I wanted her to cover more (because she is 15 and beautiful), I was proud of her for having the confidence to do that. There would have been a day she would not have been that secure in who she is!
4. Don’t instill fear where fear does not exist. This is a tough one.. Every year at the beach I hold my breath as Sam goes in the waves and goes deeper and deeper without hesitation. This year I resolved to let my fear go because it didn’t exist in him. How many times do I stop my children and myself because of fear. How many things have we missed out on as a result? How many grey hairs did I add to my head. The other ironic thing is I say I trust God, BUT fear is a sign that I do not. This year on day one I watched as Sam mastered the waves with a smile – some he went under, some he went over, and some he let him full force. As a result of letting go of the fear I was able to watch in awe instead of fear and hands over my eyes (and missing the moment).
5. Don’t waste time on what is NOT important and/or can’t be changed – this especially includes worry. How many times do I worry about things instead of dropping them at God’s feet and letting them go. How many times do I sit in worry instead of getting up and doing something? At the beach I briefly starting thinking of things that were stewing in my mind, my to-do list, work issues, etc… and realized by worrying about those things I was robbing myself of that precious time with my family at the beach.
6. Don’t waste other people’s time – it is important too! I find myself getting people wrapped up in my trivial issues. Or to be very honest, wrapped up in my complaining, gossip, etc…. I am robbing them of important time.
7. If you are going to wear a suit – get wet. I use to be the parent who just sat at the beach and watched my children. I am the parent who often doesn’t even pack a suit at a hotel with a pool. Last year at the beach I was great at digging holes in the sand. This year I resolved I would be an active participant not just the picture taker (although I juggled both this year). Every day I was in the ocean, digging holes, and I even swam in the pool. I can get consumed with the fact that I am still fat.. consumed with what I want to do (I.e. read) or I can build memories (and holes and castles). My family knows my size and well no one else really matters (see #3)
8. Church is where ever God is! We routinely go to a physical church on Sunday mornings. However, my two Sundays sitting at the beach watching the waves just coming so far up the sand and stopping by HIS DESIGN, was like church in 3D! That time at the beach refreshed my soul and spirit. Hurricane Arthur developed while we were there and the night before warnings were out, the beach was cleared of many items, and I walked down to the water and took a video. The waves crashing one after another and stopping at my feet was magnificant. I met God at the beach… and need to work on meeting him more (like sitting on my porch listening to the birds) and not just the motion of Sunday mornings in a structure. Because to be honest, on Sunday mornings, my mind is not always willing / open to truly “experience church”.
Okay… I have many more things on my list, but many things to accomplish today… so part two lessons from the beach hopefully tomorrow!
I love Christian/Worship music and almost always listen to KLove in my car, but there are spots that there is nothing but static. Static drives me crazy! I also really enjoy silence in my car; however, there are times I need to block out my thoughts! I figured out how to download podcasts on my iPhone because I like to feed my mind with things that make me think. However, I did not know that podcasts would automatically start when I plugged my phone in to charge and over my radio. The first one was about Breathing Room by Andy Stanley. I wanted to turn it off, but felt like I was meant to listen to it, but it made me think deeper than I wanted too. Sometimes I just want to escape “lessons”. The second one was by Joyce Myer and about the Power of Words. One of the first thing she said was about the power of negative words. Words that come out are because of what our heart is focused on. OUCH! So, when I am ugly, it is a result of what has been festering in my heart and mind – OUCH! She is right my ugly words are not just about a new moment, but things I have been festering.
The first area is about people. Over time, my tolerance of people has shortened. I just started to type a list of negative people and people who drive me absolutely crazy and I realized as I typed the list of people I could place specific names, situations, etc.. I honestly had no idea how bad it was until my list was growing and festering in my heart. Though I try to control my words, I know they spill out of my mouth, and now I know why. I have allowed them to take up valuable space that can be filled with positive thoughts. Specific example that I did OVERCOME fairly recently was in regards of my children and their speeds.
- First Sam – he has one speed – his! I learned much earlier with him to not let his speed drive me crazy. When I do find myself faltering in that area, I realize it is usually my fault because I got us up late, didn’t have him get things ready the night before, etc… So I offer him grace for my mistakes and know that no matter how many times I say I hurry up, the speed stays the same – his! It just leaves me frustrated, so I now just focus on the blessing of a little boy with an incredible imagination that has to leave the house with the exact right thing. Also, if I hurry him and he forgets something the day will just go downhill. I also just remind myself how blessed I am to have him in my life!
- Mary has her own speed as well. There are the days I miss that I could say let’s go and she could be ready in 5 minutes and out the door. Those were the days the clothes didn’t matter and neither did her hair, her face, etc… But, now she likes to look nice in her own style (which thankfully includes multiple layers – lol), have her hair fixed (which can take awhile with her long curly hair – which I have to remember), and her makeup on. Again, no matter how many times I say hurry up, it doesn’t speed the system. We both just get frustrated. So now I try to warn the night before and offer more grace when its last minute plans. I learned when I use to take her to school not to get in an argument about being late or time issues or her forgetting things because it ruins both of our days. I still practice that principle as much as possible. I also count my blessing that she cares enough about her self enough to care what she looks like when she goes out of the house. I am especially blessed when I go to places like Walmart, etc and see how kids/teen/adults dress and look! Blessed to have a beautiful daughter from the inside out!
So, now to learn to offer the same grace to the other annoying people. A friend of mine who chooses a word each year wanted to have her young sons choose a word. A word that describes overlooking things done by their brother, etc. We came up with Grace. The power of learning that word in early childhood, but if they can learn it, surely I can too. Where do I start to OVERCOME negativity?
- I have already hidden certain people from my FaceBook. If I continually see their posts and they continually drive me crazy they will continue to plant seeds in my heart of annoyance. And if keep building the seeds the negative will also likely flow from my mouth.
- The next thing I need to do is to think of one positive to say in my head when I see them. My hope is that I can replace the negative things I feel about the things they do/don’t do, the thing they say, etc. with a positive affirmation.
- Stop keeping record of wrong. I can be great about keeping a tally in my head of all the things that people have done that annoy me. I can then easily pull them out of that brain file and shove more stuff in as it happens. I then put the file back into my memory to retrieve and add to the next time. I am just being completely honest. My prayer is that I can pull the files out when I see that person and just empty it and stamp FORGIVEN, just as Christ did for me. How liberating.
- Some situations may require me to have an honest conversation and clear the air. This will definitely require me to have a gentle heart and a sincere reason to heal the relationship. It can’t be to make me feel better or to just dump out the file. I have to remember if I can’t talk to the individual, I shouldn’t be having a conversation with someone else about them.
- My thoughts and words affect my attitude toward people. I will blame some of this on age and I believe a hormonal switch taking place. I can walk into a room or just read a facebook post and I can feel an instant attitude change. Here is a thought maybe it is me with the problem and not the other people!
- Another point Joyce mentioned was the importance of blessing people. I think I need to start blessing and not cursing. A great prayer to say over everyone. Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’…
I truly believe that my negative words – whether spoken out loud or to myself – have been sucking some serious energy out of me. I am literally letting people drive me crazy – or I should say MY THOUGHTS about other people drive myself crazy! I can OVERCOME my thoughts… after all they belong to ME!