Thursday, June 24, 2010

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped...

...My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7

I have just returned from a beach vacation and my hope is that the lessons I learned there, like the memories made, will stay with me as I go on with life. The place we stayed at is located on the northern end of the island, on the edge of the usual development, hotels, and crowds. Because of the location, I have the luxury of solitude, something that is often lacking in my everyday life. That solitude has led to some amazing time with the Lord.

I usually walk on the beach every morning I’m there. My route happens to mean taking a right turn out of the condo. The route I like is about 3 miles round trip. It’s very secluded and I get lost in thoughts and hardly remember the walk most days. I love that about this stretch of beach. The time I spend in reflection, praise and prayer helps me to stay focused on the priority of Him, His purpose and plan and less on the distractions that typically lead me to sadness, stress and separation.

One day, I took a left instead of a right. This took me towards the crowds, the noise, the busyness of the other end of the beach. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, a lot of people really enjoy the interaction and I believe those interactions can lead to moments of opportunity to share God’s message. But, it also means I’m not spending that time reflecting or praising because I am too distracted by everything going on around me.

For a few days since I took that route, I’ve been thinking. And I think that God is using that to teach me something. That every day I am faced with distractions and choices. What I choose and what I allow myself to be distracted by all impact my ability to stay centered and focused on Him. Keeping that commitment to spending time with Him before embarking on the day’s activities make a huge difference on the choices I make and the impact the distractions will have. I’ll be honest, my time with Him isn’t always the first thing I do when I get up. But, I am working on making time at some point in the morning – time in a devotional book I’m reading, time with some of the numerous email devotions I receive each day, a message on a podcast, or (my favorite) reading or listening to the Scripture on CD in the car. I find that if I spend time doing any of these, my day is better, my choices more in line with His and my stress level is lower.

While the tan lines from the vacation at the beach may fade, my prayer is that the focus gained will not. I long for that connection that is found in those moments of solitude when it is just me and my Lord.

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