“…With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3
Six hours worth of chatting, music, and highways; my best friend and I were off to Galveston’s port. Two weeks ago, I found myself Caribbean-bound. With over 45 different outfit combinations neatly stowed away in my hot-pink luggage, I was looking forward to seven days of brainless activity while on the cruise.
Jamaica, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman awaited a boat full of 5,000 eager vacationers. With my Blackberry useless on airplane mode, my Mac-book was also collecting dust back in Dallas, safely tucked away on a bookshelf. No phone calls, voice mails, text messages, emails, or notifications would be interrupting this trip. After all, this was vacation– my one excuse to cut all ties with the outside world.
In my book, the definition of vacation is actually just a shorter way to say “Laying out, sleeping, shopping, dressing up, and eating.” However, due to the unexpected cold front, I quickly realized that this cruise did not guarantee a tan, and laying out would require a sweater. Not only was the weather below 65 degrees, the water was rough, the waves were huge, and according to the crew, conditions were “worse than they had been in over 8 years.”
First cruise, first day, and to my horror, I started to realize that I was one of those panzies that gets sea-sick. I was dizzy just getting out of bed. This was not how I wanted to spend my PTO. I thought to myself; “God, Really? I just wanted a vacation. That’s why I’m on a cruise. I needed time away. I wanted a break. I needed the world to slow down for more than 5 seconds. Now, I just feel like a lame, 85 year old woman in bed and on sleeping aids.” This would turn out to be an incredibly annoying week.
And then, in the middle of the night and out of nowhere, like a steady whisper above the choppy waves; “I’m jealous for your attention. I desire your heart. It’s quiet here. You’re still here. I just want to love on you.” That was it. That’s all it took and I was on my face and in tears. In an instant, I realized how non-stop my life had been the last several months, I missed Him. I need Him. What I thought would ruin my vacation, ended up refocusing my life. It’s funny how quickly everything falls into perspective when God’s the only one to talk to– even at 3AM.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day affairs of life. It seems like everything fights for our attention, competing to steal our time and suck the life out of us. Even good things become distractions. “Quiet time” gets caught up in busy time, and before you know it, you find yourself giving God sloppy seconds. All the while, we’re supposed to be giving Him our first, our best. This “busy-ness” not only cheapens our lives, but robs us of the peace and blessing God gives when we are in a constant, steady, state of surrender.
I can tell where my heart is by looking at my planner. It’s pretty safe to say that my time is spent on the things I care most about. Two weeks ago, I had to make some changes, and that was okay. If you find yourself realizing that God hasn’t taken priority in your life, don’t focus on how you’ve fallen short — just do what you were supposed to do to begin with, and make time for Him! I’ve learned, and now– had to relearn, that for me personally, it doesn’t work to try and “fit God in my day.” I have to wake up early — 6AM on weekdays, and 5AM on the weekends. Yes, it’s a sacrifice, but the reward is well worth it. When you intentionally put God first every day, a life of purpose will follow.
On this trip, I fell in love with Jesus all over again. It’s never too late, you’re never too far, He’s always just one intention away. He doesn’t force you to love Him. He speaks peace over our lives and wins us over with His goodness. Our only reasonable response is to give Him our best, sloppy seconds just don’t cut it. Regardless of who I am or what I do; He loves me. This reckless faithfulness is what brings me back, without fail, every time.
“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8