“A man’s heart is like deep water…” -Proverbs 20:5
I think “that” time is beginning to set in–that uncomfortable moment of realizing that time isn’t waiting on you to recognize its passing. That time when you realize this is your last summer of being a college student. That time when you see all that you know slowly fade into a scary newness that you can’t even lay eyes on yet. That time… it’s here.
The sweetness of summertime has always been a taste I hold dearly on my tongue. Blistering hot weather, getaways to the beach, the freedom that exists in a schedule-less season… It’s all so special to me, so rare, and so refreshing. But for anyone who knows me, it’s safe to say this summer hasn’t necessarily been as blissfully free as the above description would allude. In fact, this has been one of the busiest summers I’ve ever had, but full, so full, of so much good and so much grace, along with a lot of trying times and circumstances that weren’t so good or graceful. And one of few regrets that I hold over the past few months is the fact that I haven’t gotten to see the beach as often as I’d like, that place that holds so many memories and even more comfort for me. But looking back over June and July, I’m coming to see my life in a slightly different way. Though I haven’t had the luxury of sticking my toes in the greenish brown water of that Perdido shore as much as I’d like, I have been wading through a different kind of water. A man’s heart. My heart.
The above-quoted proverb speaks to me in ways that solitary words can’t and don’t. It relates, not by what it says but by how it says it. The place that my heart can truly rest, truly be at ease is being compared to what it rests– the deep waters of the Florida-Alabama line are, in fact, mirrored within the core of who I am, within the heart that keeps me alive. Every beat is a wave crashing. Every murmur is a change in tide. And every passionate movement of heart results from something bigger than the movement itself. My heart– it’s a dang beach. An ocean. Deep water.
I’m a firm believer in the ocean, only because it relates as much as you let it. No matter who you are, there is a sense of familiarity to be found in the waves of its never-ending tide, an identity to be discovered in the lack of independence shown in an individual wave. It never stops. It’s never predictable. And yet it still owns a certain sovereignty about it, as if every random clash of water isn’t as random as it seems. It can knock a man off his feet while washing away the cares and worries of another. Does that sound remotely familiar? Does it ring a bell? Because it seems to me that the ocean shares the exact same definition of God’s grace.
The last 3 months (6 months, really) have been anything but calm and easy-going. In fact, my life has rerouted and taken on a new course, one that I am 100% sure is not of my own making. I’ve changed my major as a junior in college, I’ve given up any reigns that I ever thought I had in my life, and I’m being tugged in directions that only my Leader knows. People have ridiculed me, attacked who I am, and solicited their opinions where none were needed or asked for. And though much opposition has surfaced in response to this new highway I’m taking, it’s purpose is only one of affirmation that I’m right on track. That every clash, every violent breaking of wave, is not caught in the vanity of purposelessness. The container of my heart overflows with billowing waves of mercy from my Father in ways that I don’t come close to deserving, in ways that I still have problems accepting and living in. And I realize in this moment that the lack of physically feeling the waves of the ocean on my body are over-compensated by the monsoons of grace that I feel in the depths of my heart. The peace of a sandy shore that my heart has sought for in the past has now been incarnated as Grace taken root inside of that heart– it’s made its home on the inside. It is the deep water that has filled my heart.
“Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.”
This is the Message version of Proverbs 20:5, and I like to think that it fits perfectly with what I’m saying. There is no wisdom about me. There are no words that I can conjure up to explain the depravity of what my life would be like if it were in my own hands. What’s a wave without its ocean? My heart is guided by more than itself. My heart is choppy, tossing and turning, caught in an undertow of not knowing. But it’s not the wave that’s important– my heart is not what’s at the wheel here. The Force that leads my heart is what is in focus, and it is that Force that brings each storm-tossed wave into one full body–a beautiful ocean, blue and beckoned, perfectly purposed. And as much as I like to think I have a say in where I go and what I do, the reality is that I’m pulled by something I am called to submit to. That moment, that beautiful collision of life and submission to its Master, is where purpose is cultivated and used as it’s intended.
I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you’re going through or what you’ve seen in your life. But I do know who I am, and I do know what I’ve seen. And let’s be real–it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Your life starts when you stop having it. It begins when it becomes only a piece of something bigger, something better, and something much more powerful than anything you can take credit for. That’s the reality that we are all called to live in, the reality that suits our hearts best, the reality that cultivates a home for the Holy Spirit. And that home for me is my heart, an ocean full of the very grace that overflows from my insides to my outsides. It won’t be easy if you do it right, and it won’t be right if it’s easy.
“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.” –John 15:18-19
We have all been warned what is sacrificed in a life that’s lived on terms that this world doesn’t embrace. But what is lost stands up to no comparison to what is gained.
Summer is drawing to a close, and it’s been quite different than summers past. But the ways in which God has revealed himself to me over the last half-year are nothing short of incredible and humbling. Though my feet haven’t gotten to wade through the Florida waters as much as I would like, my heart has waded through an immense amount of Grace. And I’ll venture to say its so much better than any sunny day on a sandy shore can offer.
My heart. It’s just like the ocean, just like deep water as the Proverb affirms. And as this airstream continues on a road with an unknown destination, I ride realizing all that swims in the ocean of a man’s heart. Perhaps that’s why I love the beach so much– not for the sun or sand, tan lines or water. But for the identity that’s mirrored in those beautiful waters inside my own heart. Today, I am thankful for the chance to wade through those waters by drowning myself in the tide of my Master’s grace. If his waters consume me, then I pray that I am only a testament of the power of such waters, the power of such Grace.
And so, this stop on the map isn’t one for tires. It’s not one for road signs or brake lights. It’s time to get off the asphault and realize what it means to be only a piece, only a wave in the ocean of God’s love and grace. I’m divin’ in.