For a number of years I went to small private school two blocks from the Huntington Beach Pier in So.Cal. One of the best advantages of this location was we would go to the beach for P.E. (physical education) and fun. We would run on the beach, boogie board or body surf. One the worst things about playing in the ocean is getting tossed by a wave.
Getting tossed is when the wave crashes on you and you get caught in the tumbling force of the wave. Its like being stuck in a clothes dryer, only under water. The feeling this creates in one who does not know what to do in this situation is sheer panic.
You can’t see.
You don’t know which way is up.
You are at the whim of the powerful waves.
You are unsure about when your next breath of air will come.
All of this is very scary and disorienting. The trick or technique I learned from surfers is when you get tossed you do one of two things: either you just stand up, pushing your feet and legs down or you stick out your hands and feet, making yourself big and flat. Doing either of these will help orient you to the surface, the ocean floor or at least stop you from tumbling. Once you have an idea of which way is up you can decide how you to need reorient yourself to get your next breath.
I am coming to believe this reorientation is a huge need not just in the beach culture, but in life and faith. Some people find themselves spinning out of control, not knowing where they are going, wondering which way is up or where to get their next breath. Lots of things can cause this disorientation:
- Finances (too little and too much)
- Health concerns
The list can go on and one. I actually think we spend more of our time disoriented, than oriented. The natural chaos of our lives proves this.
So, how does on find a reorienting point in life?
I think there are a lot of metaphors we like to use to describe reorienting point: a lighthouse, a map and the consistently of the sun rising and setting. But the best one is a compass.
A lighthouse tells you where not to go. A map is only good if you know where you are and where you want to go. The sun is only good during the day. A compass on the other hand is consistent. Always pointing north thus informing you of all the possible directions and good even in the darkness (where I venture most of the confusion happens).
To find a consistent compass for life you need to find one that does not change, povides reliable direction and works in the worst of times. James tells us about such a compass in James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
- Everything good comes from God.
- God is “above” or outside our world and yet invovled in it.
- He is the Father of light who illuminates everything. By him we see clearly.
- And none of this will ever change.
Who God is, tells us who we are. If we reorient our lives toward God (his will, character and purpose), then he can be a grounding point to bring clarity, focus and stability to our lives.
God gave us our first breath and in him we will find our next breath.