I like to observe life with deeper meanings in mind—the reason beneath the action, the personality behind the habit, the lesson in everything. A walk on the beach never fails to furnish interesting thoughts, especially when my little siblings come along!
They, like most people, come to the beach for the waves. They nimbly cavort among the swells and make the air ring with their shrieks of laughter as they play. Fear of the water’s force just enhances their excitement as they race up and down with the tide, always keeping one step away from the waves’ eager fingers.
This is not me.
I am the kind that could spend hours roaming the sands in search of shells or curious bits of backwash left by the tide, enjoying the breeze and glimpses of the water while quietly having fun in my own way.
I have never desired to be a screeching banshee who risks imminent disaster by flirting with the waves’ whim. Sitting in the sand or seeking ocean treasures is safe and sensible and satisfying. But that’s who I am, not who my siblings are. And it takes all kinds of people to make a world.
Some people (my siblings) aren’t afraid to get their feet wet with life, or their clothes dirty with adventure. They embrace the chill surf and the thrill it offers, rolling with the tide as it ebbs and flows, their fear of life’s undertow only whetting their appetite to play with the unpredictable and win.
Some people (like myself) would rather walk the dry dunes high above the water’s reach, observing the adventures of others from a safe distance. We are happy to sift through layers of centuries of lives, miles of sand, piles of shells and pebbles and seaweed, for objects that catch our eye and make us think. We come home laden with profundities if not adventures. We are thinkers, not exactly doers. While others put together the pieces of life’s puzzle, we thinkers analyze those pieces and the picture they make.
God created both kinds of people for a reason. But I think there are times when we all need to practice a balance of the two. Doers can have the tendency to rush into things without consideration. Thinkers often ponder an opportunity until they think themselves out of action. These extremes can be harmful–in life, in relationships, in God’s work. I know I habitually think too much about everything and work myself into a lather of worry and doubt and despair.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 says “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” We can allow ourselves to second-guess everything until we are useless to the cause of Christ. Sometimes God’s will calls for risks, steps that don’t make sense, moves out of our comfort zone. It is at these moments when we thinkers need to close our minds to human reasoning and let faith, not sight, dictate our path.
Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” This is for all those Doers out there who impulsively run whithersoever their fancy leads and don’t think about the danger, the impracticality, the consequences. God is a God of order, and He expects us to make certain that our ways are in order, not let loose to rush helter-skelter into anything in the name of spontaneity.
Am I denouncing you banshees who know how to enjoy the ocean? NO. Go ahead and have an adventure for me. I wish I weren’t scared of the waves, but I can’t swim, so perhaps that is my reason for cowardice. Am I denouncing you sandpipers who only go to the beach to carry away half its inventory of shells? NO. Go ahead and be tame. But once in awhile, exchange personalities and exert some balance and see if it doesn’t help you grow. Doers, go think for a bit. Thinkers, go do something. Be flexible. God can use you in ways you could never have imagined, as long as you stay flexible and don’t lock your personality in a box.