This past weekend I was home in sunny South Florida for fall break. Every time I go home and am greeted by the salty sea air, I am always reminded of little pieces of my childhood, those times when life seemed so simple.
I grew up just a few minutes from the Gulf of Mexico with a family who loved to fish. While they all enjoyed fishing, the hobby had my brother Matt “hooked.” He was always fishing. So on summer nights when I had nothing else to do, I’d go with him to the beach. I’d sit along the shoreline with my nose in a book as my brother tossed in his line in hopes of catching a big one.
I remember sitting on the smooth white beach, with my toes buried in the sand and the gentle breeze tousling my sun-streaked hair. Often, I’d close my book, set it down in the sand and simply watch the world around me. I’d watch the seagulls flitter across the sky and dive down into the water in search of dinner. I’d watch the crabs emerge from their dark holes and scurry toward shelter in the sea. I’d watch the sun sink below the horizon, leaving behind streaks of pink and orange and teal. I’d watch as the Creator painted a vibrant picture across the canvas sky, and I’d feel inspired by the artistry unfolding before my eyes.
It was in those moments that I dreamed. I’d dream about the future and all the possibilities stretched out before me. I’d dream about the people I would meet, the tasks I’d be entrusted with, the books I’d write, the countries I’d visit. I’d dream about making a difference in the world and I’d imagine all the adventures I would embark on in the days to come. I was just a kid, but the possibilities for my young life stretched out before my like the sea that seemed so endless.
Life was so simple. I felt so free.
Now that I am an adult facing real-life decisions with lasting consequences, those summer nights seem far away. My to-do list is so long and my schedule so full of tasks and responsibilities that I often forget to take time to simply breathe. I am so consumed with the busyness of this life that I forget to stop and reflect and dream.
But God didn’t create his people to be robots that are chained to our worldly work and responsibilities. He didn’t create us to always be worn down and weary. He didn’t intend for us to be so consumed by our daily tasks that we overlook His sovereign hand in our lives and the world around us. Living a fulfilled life is not about having a full schedule—it’s about enjoying God’s beauty and grace and goodness and having the courage to dream.