Saturday, October 15, 2011

As the Tan Fades

I spent a lot of time in the sun during our beach stay.


As I soaked in the rays, I was reminded of my junior high years.

‘Laying out’ was a favorite pastime among our middle school crowd and I was an eager participant for a certain season. Usually at Laura’s house. We would lay on her cement sidewalk on towels, with Big Gulps, a radio and a Seventeen magazine. We loved to take the quizzes in the magazine. “How Good of a Friend Are You” , or “Are You Prepared for True Love” or “What Your Hair Style Says About You”
Weighty issues that could clearly be dissected and analyzed through a series of multiple choice questions. We were eager for the results to define us and thus offer some understanding and validity of our very being. We would gasp over “how accurate!” the quiz was. Or discuss all the reasons the quiz was wrong. It was good fun. And so enriching.

We sometimes even got tan.

I abandoned ‘laying out’ in time. Despite the aesthetic benefits of a lovely brown glow, I grew weary of the sweaty, sweatiness lying in the sun produced. It made me grumpy. And let’s face it, at age 13, I didn’t need one more thing to make me grumpy.

My next extended foray with sunshine was the summer of my junior year of high school. I went with dear family friends to the Texas Coast. I spent a lot of time in the sun and got very, very brown. I also was pooped on by a seagull. Funny the things you remember. I enjoyed that trip very much (despite the seagull) and my tan impressed my friends back home. Their admiration almost convinced me to revisit the discipline of ‘laying out’. But the desire faded, as did my tan.

In recent years, our family trips to the beach involved toddlers or young children. So lying around on beach chairs didn’t really happen for me. I will confess that I kind of felt like sitting and lounging (and sleeping) were lost to me forever. Those early years of childcare are not for pansies, y’all. Those years can kick your tail. Kicked mine.

But, GOOD NEWS!!! Kids grow up and learn to swim and can be allowed more freedom and independence. Amen.

Our children are older now, all strong swimmers, and after the establishing of healthy boundaries, didn’t have to be watched at every second. I could lie on the beach chairs and soak in the sun.

I loved the still, quiet times. I loved the time to think.

The book of Hebrews was an anchor during these two weeks. My mind, left to it’s own devices can quickly lead me astray. I’m learning that I must have the boundary and protection of God’s Word planted daily in this head of mine or my thoughts bound in directions that defeat and plague.

Endurance. Eyes fixed on Christ. Faith.

These were guides charting the course of my thoughts.

A few things I came away with:

*Hebrews 2:10—even Christ was perfected thru suffering
*Hebrews 4:12—the word of God is living and active—His words are DOING something in me
*Hebrews 5:14 & 6:1-12—constant taking of ‘solid food’ trains to distinguish good from evil (there IS a distinction—it really isn’t a world of ‘greys’); ‘solid food’ seems to be very tied to the experiencing of the Holy Spirit
*Hebrews 10:38—when we shrink back, God’s soul has no pleasure in us
*Hebrews 13:12-14 Jesus suffered, ‘outside the camp’ bearing disgrace and we are to join him there

And this from John, dominating my prayers in many ways:

John 17: 14-17: especially: “Sanctify them in the truth, Your word is truth.”

So rich. SO nourishing.

And while I was pondering, I even got tan.

As the brown glow inevitably fades, I pray my soul lessons don’t.

The color and warmth of His Spirit’s shine deepens and intensifies.

The radiance that doesn’t fade…

That’s the glow I’m really looking for.

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