Shady Living

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James 1:11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

I’m not a fan of the summer sun. I have skin the color of an American Standard toilet. Freckles of varying sizes and colors appear wherever the sun bakes my fair skinned body. Sure, I can use sunscreen and I do- SPF100 to be exact- but it feels uncomfortable to me: the flushing of my face, sweat everywhere, the literal heat radiating my tender flesh like a chicken roasting in the oven. I prefer shade.

I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I can no longer exist in my present state. I’ve known this awhile, but as I have said previously, I am not a fan of discomfort. I don’t like to live my life feeling denied or uncomfortable. The idea of purposely putting oneself into a disciplined state of proper diet or the lactic acid after burn of a workouts feels vulnerable to me. Come to think of it, I’m not a fan of vulnerability either. I prefer remaining climate controlled.

But here’s the trouble: I really am not happy with this body. It isn’t flexible anymore, strong anymore or as light as it used to be before (and light is a relative term, believe me.) The problem with living in the shade is that shade can only exist because the sun exists. The sun allows the growth that provides the shade. Without its heat, buds would not awaken, without its light, chlorophyll would have nothing to convert to energy. The tree depends on the summer sun to gather its resources and nurture its soul for the long winter’s rest.

I encourage people all the time to lean into the uncomfortable. Break-ups, school, new hobbies, and especially, breaking old habits all cause a significant amount of discomfort. Perhaps I do that because I can bear a break-up, juggling multiple disciplines or tackling new hobbies without much fear. But this body of mine is a habit I dread breaking. When I ruminate on the terror of the exercise: waking early for the class, sweating, not having the stamina or flexibility, bearing The People of the Gym- I run in the opposite direction. Yet, as I say that I gaze upon the picture above and realize that to stay shaded means to live in the dark and no matter how comfortable that may be, and I am not a dweller of darkness. I am a child of salt and light. I bring leavening and drive out shadow. I am equipped to do that because of faith and my creation. Sometimes comfort can be more debilitating than our fear, especially when it comes to the disciple’s path. I am praying for courage and trust to live boldly into a new life out in the sun. Precious Lord, take me hand…

 

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