So I live in San Diego now and it makes all the sense in the world that I should start surfing, right? I have always enjoyed the idea of surfing even though I have never surfed in my life. I did some Boogie boarding when I was a teen, but that is not surfing. A few months ago I started asking a friend from church, who surfs, if he would teach me. He totally agreed and even offered to let me use one of his boards. He explained to me that I would need to learn on a long board, not only because of my lack of experience, but because I was a pretty big boy as well. Cool.
The morning was finally here, my first surfing lesson. I felt so cool as we rode out to Ocean Beach with two boards strapped to the top of his car. As we got closer to the beach I couldn't help but wrestle between complete excitement and straight up nervousness. We got out of the car, grabbed our boards and made for the beach. It was amazing, I kinda felt like a surfer for about five minutes.
As we got closer to the shore I immediately spotted the multitude of surfers out where the waves were these beautiful swells. I noticed a couple of things. For one, there were a lot of surfers. Two, just about all of them were wearing wet suits. Third and most important, the waves did not look like the kind of waves you learn on. They resembled more like the waves off of some surfing magazine. As I looked with mouth wide open and wide eyes, still being cool of course, I couldn't help to feel just a tad scared. After a few lessons on paddling, standing up (yeah right), and footwork we launched off.
So the water was cold, real cold. No wetsuit, mistake number one. As we got in and started paddling out the break started hitting. It wasn't too long after that when my friend said to me, "you need to turtle roll." Turtle what? Is that some kind of sushi? What happened to learning the turtle roll on the beach? He came over and gave me a quick hands on lesson as to what a turtle roll was. The turtle roll turned out to be a game changer.
One of the toughest things I faced that morning on my first surfing lesson was attempting to get out past the break. Which was kicking my butt big time. Every time I thought I made some headway, I was pushed back by a breaker. So it was paddle paddle paddle, get crushed by a breaker, end up 10 feet back and repeat. Do that for ten minutes! Insert the turtle roll into that equation and you get something totally different.
I made it out past the break and into pro surfer land, a place I totally did not belong. I didn't do much but sit on my board and soak in being out there. It was breathtaking. It was worth it. After some time enjoying the beauty and catching my breath. We began making our way in. My buddy said, "just paddle and don't catch a wave". What happened next is material for another post. As much as I didn't want to catch a wave, I did. I caught a big wave and it was disastrous. Somewhat painful too.
Once we were back to the safety of the shore we set our boards down and grabbed a seat to thank God and go over what we had just experienced. He looked at me and asked me what I was feeling. I tried to capture the excitement, little bit of fear, and sheer awesomeness all in a few sentences. I then asked him what he thought of the morning. He had one word to describe it, "foundations".
He went on to explain that the things I had experienced that morning were all foundational. Things I needed to continue to build on in order to really enjoy surfing.
I'm going to be honest with you. I really thought I would learn how to surf by the end of that morning. What a dumb idea. There were foundational elements of surfing I needed to learn first. I didn't fully enjoy surfing that day. I was cold, I drank a good bit of salt water, I was scared for a moment or two, got beat down by some waves, and almost got run over by a surfer.
I think some people are doing life like I was doing surfing that morning. We think we can skip the foundational because it's boring and doesn't make sense. God desires that we have a full life, right now. That's one of the reasons he sent Jesus (John 10:10), to lead us into a life of meaning, power and love. But too often we skip the foundational. What is the "foundational" when it comes to your journey with God? Trust.
Whatever circumstances you are in right now please know that God loves you extravagantly. Your existence is not defined by the choices you have made or haven't made. You are defined by the way God sees you. You are his son or daughter. Everything He does is for your good. You are the center of his heart, the apple of his eye.
So, do you trust Him?
Trust, it's foundational. Without it we won't be able to really enjoy life like He would love for us to enjoy.