I’ve watched it many times. Always off the east coast, always over the Atlantic. The arrival of the orange orb announced by its preceding yellow light. The light that dances off the waves, illuminates all that sleeps, heralds the day, embraces me.
The horizon that serves as a stage for the unfolding of a beautiful day sits constant and steady. It’s the place my eyes cannot see past, the line that defines my space. It holds my gaze and allows thoughts to wander, births dreams. It speaks security and possibility all at once in that place where sky and water touch.
The earth was never flat, ever. Still, once those living on it believed it was. They saw a horizon just as we do. But instead of seeing a point at which new vision unfolds, they saw a definite end, a limit, a stop sign. Embracing their flawed understanding of the world, they stayed away from the edge, stayed close to home, stayed content with the familiar, the observable, the safe.
From their place on the coast, they saw nothing past the line, the line where sky meets sea, and concluded there was nothing to see—believed there was nothing more than their created minds already contained. Created beings often come to wrong conclusions about other created things. Wrong conclusions affect thinking, and decisions, and actions; right conclusions do too.
Created beings often come to wrong conclusions about other created things.
A right conclusion about the earth’s roundness fueled exploration. And exploration birthed new beginnings for many, opened the door wide to infinite possibilities, breathed hope, and stirred dreams. I have experienced the effects of both right and wrong conclusions; I’m more careful now before I jump to any conclusion.
But what happens when our right understanding begins to erode?
What happens when life is heavy and demands are many and there is no end in sight? And the no end in sight distorts our vision and our distorted vision squelches any hope of security, any spark of possibility? Our right conclusion ends the same as a wrong one when we stand right in the middle of it overwhelmed and broken.
This eroding of what we know to be true, this fading of our soul, happens while we are looking the other way. It sneaks up on us like an early snowfall in the middle of a beautiful autumn. We find ourselves unprepared and unsure of what to do, how to get back to the way things were. Back to the beauty, back to the time when our vision was clear and fixed, when security and possibility thrived.
Know this, a season of shifting is a season of faith.
Often the journey back, the journey to soul healing, requires big and little shifts, practical and subtle shifts, easy and difficult shifts. But change, restored vision, eyes to see the horizon once again cannot come without shifting.
I’m in a season of shifting now. I’m learning how to shift from dogged determination to quiet contemplation, from compulsive task completion to slow and steady wins the race. I’m shifting from eating as I go to healthy meal preparation, and from last minute frenzied mornings to soft starts to the day in a warm bath.
Each shift has been hard, very hard. But life without vision and hope, life eroding under the pressure of poorly cultivated habits, is no life at all. When joy evaporates and health begins to wane, when the weight and monotony of one day bleeds into the next and then into them all, you choose to shift, even when it’s hard.
But more than habits, I’ve had to shift thoughts and beliefs. I’ve had to shift internal storylines that brought me to this place of living small and afraid and depleted.
What happens when life is heavy and demands are many and there is no end in sight?
Allow an unlimited God to bring understanding and refresh your soul.
While I practice healthy habits, I also choose to align my perspective with the One who created the horizon I can no longer see, much less see beyond. And I soon realize that it’s my thoughts and beliefs about Him, the Creator, my Creator, that must shift also. Unexpectedly, when I was looking the other way, my view of God became small and I took on roles that are only His to fill. But God is not small, and I cannot play God for long before I come to the end of myself.
An attribute of God that causes a created mind to struggle in the grasping of it is His infinitude. God is infinite, but my finite mind can only travel to the horizon of my finite existence. I cannot see beyond it, and I strain to imagine what might exist beyond my limited existence, my current perspective.
I wonder like those of long ago, those standing on the coast gazing at the horizon convinced it’s an end being told it’s just a beginning. And my gaze into what I cannot see piques my longing for something bigger than myself, but I struggle with the bigness of it. Tozer acknowledges this struggle in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy: “Infinitude, of course, means limitlessness, and it is obviously impossible for a limited mind to grasp the Unlimited.” So why try to grasp that which is beyond my reach?
But the Unlimited is able to impart understanding to the limited. And knowing He expands beyond my horizons brings comfort, brings rest. His infinitude, His limitlessness, is our source of abundance. All that flows from His limitlessness is limitless and in this knowing faith is stirred and my spirits see glimmers of the invisible that lay beyond my limited mind.
This shift, this reorientation, this turning from my small thinking of God to embracing His limitlessness is also hard. But I can’t eat healthy meals, relax in warm in baths, take time to reflect and then ignore this shift, this paramount turning around, and believe I will have remedied my frayed soul.
God is not small, and I cannot play God for long before I come to the end of myself.
We are all complex beings living complex lives. Sometimes life can wear us out and break us down, even if we’re strong. Sometimes it’s the strong, the determined, and tenacious who are most at risk. Those who have the heart and capacity to carry others and deny themselves at times often need someone to carry them sometimes too. And sometimes the wisest thing we can do for ourselves is hear the voice of someone who’s a few steps ahead of us on the journey.
In the quiet, I whisper a simple prayer. As I close my eyes, I see myself step away from the helm of the ship that is my life; I surrender my created, limited self at the feet of the limitless Creator. I breathe the words, “Forgive me, Father. Forgive me for trying to be what only you can be. Please impart your limitlessness into my seemingly limited world.”
Today I shift my focus from my weary soul and look at the horizon that sits in front of me. I trust that more awaits beyond what I perceive as my horizons. I choose to rest in His abundance, in His limitlessness, in His infinitude. When the limits of creation, my limits, cause me to live small and safe and afraid, I will turn to the unlimited God knowing that nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible for Him. And from this place of abundance and possibility, I will move forward, peaceful and whole.
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
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Often the journey back, the journey to soul healing, requires big and little shifts, practical and subtle shifts, easy and difficult shifts.