This is the second year my family and I have made our way to the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. To get the “house” in the “spot” you want, you typically book these vacations about a year out. Unfortunately for me, the necessity and timing of my cervical spine fusion surgery fell one month to the day of our departure. My doctor assured me I would be able to drive, and as long as I didn’t partake in any “spine jarring” activities, I would be fine. HA!
Being limited in my lifting abilities to a range of 10-20 pounds, is a very humbling experience. As I am a rather large man with a great deal of strength (5’11’ – 255 LBS), I am used to carrying the majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to trips like this. Loading and unloading of the luggage, coolers, and all other items needed to go back and forth to the beach daily. Watching others do this work for me is very humbling. I struggle a lot with pride. Pride is Satan’s strongest tool in his arsenal to pull me onto his side of the fence.
I have been blessed with an amazing “support team” this week to make sure I stay within my doctors orders. They allow me to struggle and wrestle with my pride just long enough to prevent myself from injury. They all (my wife, the other couple, and all the kids) really work hard to do all the heavy lifting. However, they do leave the door open for me to grow by allowing me to make humbling decisions on my own.
Example… “you know you shouldn’t ride the wave runner, but if you really want to, go ahead”. You know that if you’re out in the ‘bigger’ waves, you’re going to be sore later, but you do what you want”. There are a ton of examples that I could go on with, but I think you get the point.
Even on our vacation departure day and there was a small emergency at home. We did not find this out until about at the 6 hour mark of a 7 hour journey. My “support team” brought me to a calm place both mentally and spiritually, to allow me to consider all options. My old pride-filled self would have turned around, drove all the way back home to deal with the situation, and miss “vacation” with my family. Instead my “team”, coached me in prayer and led me to quiet reflection with God. Obviously, I am still on vacation in the OBX, but WOW, what a vacation. God has worked so many issues on my heart and mind that I feel like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. I am shedding my old exoskeleton and becoming something new. Please don’t misunderstand, I am NO butterfly!!! I am however becoming a new creature in Christ.
Before heading on this vacation, I thought I was walking along pretty good with my Maker. Little did I know that He had different plans. This “vacation” has been both physically and mentally exhausting. I am letting go of my pride in many area’s; more than I ever thought I would be able to. In contrast, I have not slowed myself down as much as I probably should. I want me kids to enjoy their vacation and so I push myself to the point of pain thresholds and exhaustion. On the plus side, through prayer and support, I have not gone postal on anyone. Philippians 4:13 tells us that: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”. So each morning this vacation I start out asking God to give me whatever power, strength, discernment, and patience I need to give my family, and the family with us, a fun day. I also ask that He shows me when I need to stop, and quite often, that has been earlier than the others. However, because our God is so awesome, he provides a way for me to rest wherever we are, without disturbing the flow of fun, fellowship, and adventure being enjoyed by all others.
This vacation has not been what I would, under normal circumstances, consider to be a vacation. For me this vacation has been work. However, I believe that because God is working so hard on me, it is allowing me to “work” for Him.
Working for our God is the kind of work that I will GLADLY do everyday, for the rest of my life.