My family topped off a trip to the Washington DC area with a visit to Virginia Beach this week. Our children had never seen the ocean (I've only set foot in the Pacific briefly myself), and we could hardly be so close to the Atlantic and not let them taste it.
Perhaps our many visits to Great Lakes beaches lulled me into thinking I understood waves and tides. Perhaps we simply met Madame Atlantic in one of her more tempestuous moods. In any case, she introduced herself with less than genteel hospitality.
I planned to simply wade into a comfortable depth with my seven-year-old Daniel, since we're both very marginal swimmers. We were no more than thigh-deep when we suddenly found our feet pulled out from under us and salt water filling our mouths and noses. Before we could find our footing, another wave tossed us about and then merrily ran off. We sputtered and scrambled beachward as the older kids swam on in.
Daniel and I stuck to the shoreline in knee-deep water. Daniel leapt up into each wave with delight, I braced myself in the sand and hung onto him, and the Atlantic rolled us under every few minutes.
The day wasn't quite hot enough for us to enjoy the breeze which chilled us between waves. About the time Daniel's shivering was starting to concern me, I noticed the red flag on the lifeguard stand warning "DANGEROUS OCEAN."
I think the two of us could have handled any one of the numerous challenges we faced. But I finally decided that we simply faced too many, and that we'd experienced enough ocean for the day.
A person has to know how to say "enough" before becoming overwhelmed.
There are three things that are never satisfied,
Four never say, "Enough!":
The barren womb,
The earth that is not satisfied with water—
And the fire never says, "Enough!"
~ Proverbs 30:15-16 (NKJV)
I've learned how to say "no" when a situation isn't for me. Nonetheless, I've lately found myself in several situations that each has numerous challenges. Any one fire might not be too much. For a while now, I've been wrestling with knowing when to say "enough."
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
~ Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV)
It's good to experience the gifts God puts in our paths. I'd rather look at a challenge as a stepping stone than as an obstacle. I don't like to admit defeat. I trust God to accompany me through the waters and fire in my life.
But sometimes, when I ask Him, He also grants me the option to say "Enough!"
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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