How Many Seashells Did I Bring Home from Vacation?

They busied themselves with buckets and shovels, patting sand into castle walls and adding shells and seaweed for decor.

I took this one moment, after my daughters had bounced in the waves and come out with their hair stringy and wet, and now here as they settled on a project.  They exchanged ideas.  What if we….?  How about we….?

They assigned tasks.  I’ll build here while you build there….matthew6

I left the three executive sand architects and walked there along the ocean, passing by families huddled under beach umbrellas.  Even so, I felt the quiet of alone.  Something about that ocean, that pounding out of the waves like the steadiness of a heartbeat, so dependable, so regular, so beyond our understanding.

I glanced out over that rolling water and then focused on the wet sand beneath my feet, on the seaweed and the shells carried to shore.

You can’t walk steady on a beach, not without effort.  You walk and then pause for treasure.  A curved shell, a whole shell, a tiny shell, a colorful shell.  I palmed them as I strolled.

Treasure here.  Treasure there.

Walk.  Pause for shell.  Walk.  Pause for shell.  Walk.  Pause for shell.

It took discipline to force my eyes up.  Stop looking at the ground.  Stop scanning the sand for one more beach memento.

Don’t look so hard for treasure that you miss the grand display of God’s glory right there beside you.

I’m looking for tiny seashells and this ocean keeps hitting that shore with wave after wave. in this vast display of His power, this roaring declaration of praise:

Glory to God!  Glory to God! He is great beyond words.  He is powerful.  He is faithful, steady and certain.  He is beyond understanding.

The Psalmist wrote it:

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
    mightier than the breakers of the sea—
    the Lord on high is mighty (Psalm 93:4 NIV).

Maybe I’m a treasure-hunter every day.  Head down.  Eyes to the ground.  I’m looking for the prize, the takeaway, the gift I can grip into my hands and the one that digs into the flesh of my palm.

Maybe that’s me.

Maybe I’m scanning and scanning for blessing and it’s an obsession really, perhaps even an addiction because I can dash off a glance at the ocean of glory beside me but it’s quick and I worry, “What am I missing?”  So, I drop my head down again to look for results.

And maybe what I’m missing is seeing Him, seeing His glory, sensing the full weight of His presence and lingering there, not rushing away to do and do, or find and find, or receive and receive.

I had to slip away from the everyday life to discover this obsession of seeking God’s activity instead of His face, seeking His blessing instead of His presence, seeking His gifts instead of simply seeking Him.

Because there’s just something plain-out broken in a girl who would rather look for a tiny seashell covered in sand than looking across the ocean.

And here I am at home, and I’m feeling that pressure to pray for results, pray for answers, for help, deliverance, provision, direction, favor, blessing.

So, I discipline my needy heart.

Hush.  Be still.  Bring it to Jesus and trust Him.

And this:

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need (Mathew 6:33 NLT).

So we must seek God’s face and not just His hand.  We seek His presence, not just His gifts.  We seek who He is, not just what He can do.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I Retreat and Refresh?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King


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