Mermaid Life

In the past, I’ve usually tried to give at least a halfhearted excuse after an unexpected blogging hiatus.  Today I sat down to blog for the first time in 2 weeks, and I wondered why in the hell I would feel compelled to apologize for not writing.

You know, since I’m fairly certain no one’s world was turned upside down by my lack of internet-presence.

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[most of the photos from the trip are from Sabrina’s phone…she was the designated photographer]

While yall were going on your merry way the last couple weeks, doing whatever it is you do (when you’re not reading here), I got to spend 9 days enjoying “spring break” (or whatever you call a weeklong vacation in April after you’ve graduated from college) with my lady-bros…remember them from the Tinderella escapades?  Most of that time was spent contentedly sprawling myself on various beaches around San Diego.  I exuded the sea-loving spirit of a mermaid, the jolly silhouette of a manatee, and the happiness of a proverbial clam, all in one.  Impressive, I know.   Given my exhibitionist tendencies unwarranted body confidence, it was absolute bliss to spend a week wearing little more than a cocktail of subblock, saltwater, and sunshine.

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In addition to copious hours in a barely-clothed state, I got to enjoy an escape from the 9-5 office routine and a chance to enjoy quality time with good friends, and even a visit with my extended family.

Don’t worry, I’ve been back at the 9-5 grind since Tuesday (didn’t wear my bikini, sadly).  Mama’s gotta make the Benny’s to fund these kinds of excursions.

Through all the fun and the rest and the girl talk and the Mexican food (it was a really big deal…), I was challenged.  The laid-back attitude, flexible schedule, and relaxation-mentality that defined our trip are all very much in opposition to my natural inclinations and preferences.  I stayed up past 10pm and woke up after 6am.  I didn’t set foot inside a gym, I only wore my tennis shoes twice, and I ate more chips and salsa in one week than I had in the past 12 months.   I fell asleep not having mapped out every hour of the next day, and went through the days without a meticulous list of objectives and tasks by which to accomplish them.  I took a jog on the beach wearing nothing but a bikini.

Vacations are great because it’s a chance to escape from everyday life and enjoy a change of pace.  For some people, the thought of this kind of relaxation thrills them.  For others (as in, yours truly) it’s terrifying.  It’s good though, I think, to practice being ok – or hell, embracing – refreshment and rest.  We weren’t made to be in the fast lane every moment of our lives, and these moments and days and seasons of being “in the slow lane” help us learn to practice contentment.  It’s also a great way to discern where your identity comes from.  Do you feel like anxious or ashamed when you’re not being productive (i.e. going to work, keeping a regular schedule, etc.)?  Structure and achievement are wonderful things, and God knows I thrive on that, but they do not define us.  Our work does not define us, our achievements do not define us, and our rest does not define us.  Our identity is defined by Him for whom we work, to whom we honor in our accomplishments, and in whom we find rest and fulfillment…and our identity in Him is unshakable (Romans 8:38-39).  This means that when we deviate from the everyday grind of doing and producing and achieving, for a vacation or for a midlife crisis or for whatever it may be, we are no less of ourselves because of it.  We don’t have any reason to feel guilty for allowing ourselves to rest, and we don’t “lose points” for temporarily breaking free from the norm.  We are who we are, in the office and on the beach and at home and at sea, because we are in Him.

Maybe that’s a little “deep” for a first blog post in two weeks, but it was something that’s been a long time coming for me, and I figure maybe someone else needs to hear it, as well.  There’s something wonderful and magical about learning to let go and lean into Jesus and enjoy the life He’s given you.  Those trappings of work and routine and to-do-lists can too easily become safety harnesses upon which we teach ourselves to become dependent.  Test yourself – throw off the harness and ride bareback, or dance barefoot, or go skinnydipping (or whatever metaphor you want to use here).  Take a vacation from whatever it is that you use as a safety harness for your identity, and see what it’s like to place all your comfort and identity and contentment in the Maker’s hands.

You just might want to stay there forever.

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(Sunshine, tacos, and sand in your bikini bottom?  Well, that’s just a bonus.)

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