Like a Fading Tan

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She hadn’t noticed it as it faded little by little, but one day she realized her legs weren’t the glowing tan they had been just a few weeks ago. They even looked a bit yellowish. Yck. When did that happen?

True, her circumstances had changed the last few weeks, keeping her mostly inside instead of enjoying the outside as much as she usually did. But now circumstances were changing again and her thoughts returned to what she had once had – a beautiful, burn-free tan from her shorts hem to her toes. And she knew the only way to get it back was to get out in the sun again. Since she was no longer near the beach that she had frequently enjoyed, she had to consider her options.  Sit out back in a fenceless yard, open to the observation of the construction workers and neighbors around her or travel an hour to find a beach. Neither option was ideal. But then she discovered a wide walking path close enough that she could use. Now all she had to do was overcome her inertial and actually get outside and start walking. And hope the weather cooperated.

As she thought about it, she thought how much her relationship with God was like her tan. As long as she stayed in the Son, her relationship was deep and glowing. But as she got busy with other things, little by little she would lose that vibrancy without noticing until one day it would dawn on her that her relationship was not like it was. And then she would have to work to overcome her spiritual inertial as well as outside obstacles to get back into the Son.

Which left her wondering… why did she keep leaving in the first place?

Digging For Real Treasure

With all the broken shells lining the beach, she just knew this was the spot. She set her beach towel and bag on the sand way above the high tide mark, then took her net and img_20180604_222246027.jpgwalked into the water. Staring down at the shifting shells along the breaking waves, she watched for anything that was a darker shinier black than anything else.  She was determined to find a shark tooth before having to go home but she found the waves very distracting and frustrating as they kept blocking her view and making the shells move before she could catch any.

So she began scooping up random piles of shells and dumping them on the beach above the water’s reach. Then stooping, she spread out the pile with her hands searching through all the broken pieces for the telltale shiny black. After many such searches, she gave up. This was not getting her anywhere.

She went back to standing in the water and concentrated on what she could see, hoping to find that one big tooth she knew was there. Her entire attention was focused on the search. She tuned out the sun beating down on her. She turned out the birds calling to each other. She tuned out the people strolling by. She even tuned out the waves as she peered intently through the water. Eventually, worn out, she gave up and went back up on the beach.

Sitting down near the shells that lined the high tide mark,  she began digging. Maybe she would dig up a tooth that had washed up then gotten buried by the sand. Jack pot! Within a few minutes she found a small but beautiful tooth! Feeling satisfied that she wouldn’t be going home empty handed, she headed for her towel.

As she sat, resting before her long walk back to her car, she had a thought. Why can I ignore the waves and sun and other distractions while searching for something as trivial as a shark tooth, and yet not be able to ignore all the distractions that call me away from searching the Bible for a word from God?

I’m going to have to make some changes, she told herself. It’s time to dig for the real treasure.

Sidewalks and Life

As she walked, she thought…

“My life is like these sidewalks.

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Sometimes my path is straight and clear.

Sometimes it’s not.

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Sometimes it suddenly changes directions.

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Sometimes my life gets derailed for a season.

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Sometimes my life can be messy.

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Sometimes the way is rough.

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Sometimes there are times of darkness as well as light.

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Sometimes things try to keep me from moving on.

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Sometimes I find amazing treasures along the way.

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But all times, just like the borders of a sidewalk, the boundaries God has placed in my life keep me safe.”

And her heart was filled with peace as she finished her walk.

Bella, part 2 – Distractions

Bella headed to her computer. Maybe I just need to learn a little more before deciding whether to go back to that church or not, she thought. She opened up the search bar. Instead of typing in ‘church that is bigger on the inside’, she typed in ‘Pastor Toby’.

“Whoa!” she said out loud. She would never have guessed there was so much information on that man.

She began scrolling down, stopping every now and then to check out a blog, website, book reference, or sermon that caught her attention. Just like for the church, opinions varied widely.

After a few hours, she gave up trying to find the truth on the internet. She would have to go to the church and find out for herself. She got up, stretched, then headed for her bedroom to change her clothes. Maybe if she dressed well enough, she would have a better chance of being accepted by Pastor Toby.

Maybe you should eat before you go.

As she passed the kitchen on her way to the front door, she was struck by how hungry she was.  What time was it? She checked the wall clock. Almost noon.  Ah… that’s why. It was lunchtime! She decided to eat something before leaving.

She fixed herself a sandwich and a glass of sweet tea and sat down in front of her computer to eat.  I’ll do another search while I eat, she thought. This time on the pastor’s son.

Why don’t you play Spider Solitaire?

She paused.  A search could take a long time. It wouldn’t take long to eat her sandwich. She should do something that could be finished in a few minutes. She clicked on the Spider Solitaire icon.

Sometime later, her empty plate set to the side and forgotten, she stared at the game in frustration. This should have been a simple game to win. Why was it taking so long? Maybe she should give up. Maybe she finally ran into a game that couldn’t be won.

That will end your winning streak. You’re up to 89 games. Do you want to have to start over?

No! She was determined to win it before shutting down her computer. This game was NOT going to break her winning streak!

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When she finally got to see the fireworks shooting off as she won the game, she sat back in satisfaction. It had been hard, but so worth it! 90 games! Picking up her plate and glass, she headed back to the kitchen. What was it she going to do before she had lunch? Oh, yeah, go to the church. She glanced at the stove clock. There’s still plenty of time. As she headed to the front door again, she wondered what Pastor Toby was doing. Was he outside in his garden? That’s where she’d be if she owned that church.

He might be getting ready for his next sermon and won’t be happy to be interrupted.

Maybe he was busy. Maybe she should call first. But she didn’t have the number. Should she go and take the chance that he wasn’t busy? Of course he’d be busy. He was a pastor. Aren’t they always busy? There was probably someone already there needing his counsel.

She hesitated at the door, not sure what to do.

Why don’t you take a nap and see how you feel when you wake up?

She yawned as she debated whether to go or not. This is too tiring, she thought. I need a nap. She turned and headed to her bedroom. “I’ll decide when I wake up.”

 

related links

Bella, part 1 – Heart VS Brain

(Bella’s first trip to the church can be found in I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 1 and I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 2)