Much Ado About Nothing

I’m writing this from the porch of the home we stay in during our annual trip to the beach. Even though I’m not a big swim in the ocean guy or a bury me up to my face in the sand guy, I love the beach. Sunrises and sunsets. Reading. Walks with my wife. Time with my family. Great seafood. Endless snacking. Paying too much for golf.

We’re fortunate to be in a house near the beach access. Door to shore is a two-minute trip max. (You can make it back in 30 seconds if you really have to go.)

No one is up yet so things are relatively quiet, but pretty soon the crew will roll out of bed to start getting ready for a day at the ocean.

It won’t be quiet for long.

A significant amount of prep work happens before we head out for the day. One of the reasons we love the beach is because it’s a perfect place to do nothing. To decompress, chill, relax.

But I’m amazed at all we have to do (which is A LOT) in order to do nothing.

Here’s a glimpse at what’s about to happen around here before we head out:

1) Send scout down early to secure prime spot. The scout must carry and assemble shade tent and strategically place a few beach chairs. The tent is heavy and difficult to assemble without help, but he’s considered a slacker if he doesn’t return to help carry the rest of the junk.

2) Load beach bag. Include towels, sunscreen, ziplock bag for sharks teeth, books, Kindle, phone, ear buds, snacks, tee shirts, hats, and chapstick.

3) Pack cooler with drinks and ice. Make sure to include a variety of flavors, something for everyone. Oops, that reminds me. We’ll need a bag for trash, too.

4) Blow up rafts and / or inner tube. Put sand toys in mesh tote bag.

5) Apply sunscreen. We’re 30 SPFers now. I remember when applying 8 meant that you weren’t interested in tanning. Maybe somebody should look into that global warming thing.

6) Load all in wagon and head down to the beach.

7) Most importantly, prepare yourself emotionally for a return trip twenty minutes in when someone asks for the frisbee or football or bocce ball set or kite or skimboard or…

That’s what getting ready to do nothing looks like here. Maybe your family has a similar routine.

Now think about how this compares to the energy you give prepping for a normal day, a day filled with appointments and projects, deadlines and decisions, coworkers and clients, tough conversations and unreasonable expectations.

It seems like most of us give more thought to what we need fishing or camping or hunting or for a day at the beach than we give to ordinary days. You know, the days we are building our life on. Instead of taking the time to think through the day and make preparation for it, most of us shower, grab a cup of coffee, and hit the road with no real thought about what we’ll need for days that matter.

At the beach, you know you’ll need sunscreen and appropriate clothing. You’ll consider the importance of hydration and calories and activity. You’ll realize that the best way to maximize your time on the beach is to be intentional about what happens before you go.

What if this summer, in addition to a tan and a few extra pounds, you bring home a new mindset? What if you decided to approach normal days with the same intentionality you do with vacation?

Question: How would a normal work day be different for you if you spent a little time preparing for it?

Think through your day. What will you need to pack in order to make it more productive? What preparations can you make to avoid getting burned today? How can you maximize it? How can you avoid mindlessly heading to work without giving any thought to what you’ll need?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote from Dallas Willard: A disciple is not a person who has things under control, or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.

Better question: If you are a follower of Jesus, what if you began your day by thinking about what you’ll need to “revise your affairs and carry through on (your) decision to follow Him?” How would this mindset change the way you approach your day? How would it affect your decisions, change the way you view your job, or alter how you talk with your coworkers?

I’m about to head out to the beach. Experience has taught me that most of the items listed above are essential components for a good day in the sun.

Some of you are about to head out to work. Experience has taught you what you’ll need to make this day matter. Spend the necessary time getting ready.

Your family will thank you.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness,
knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure,
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind,
forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.
For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the
eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)

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