Why I surf


I little over year ago I started a new hobby, surfing.  Surfing is a really strange activity.  Unlike running, biking, hiking, swimming, surfing brings all sorts of epic connotations.  It is beautiful, elegant, cool, and elite.  I mean, very few people in the world even have access to the sport.  

And it was for some of these reasons that I decided to try my hand.  A group of my friends have been going out surfing Thursday morning for years, and have been inviting me, to no avail.  It was too early, it is too cold, and I hate feeling like an idiot trying new things in front of people.  But last fall, I got over myself and did it.  And it has been life changing.

I thought I would become an epic surfer, would shred the gnar, and be ready for a Rip Curl photo shoot.  But it turns out, that after a year, I can barely catch a wave and stand up.  I only surf in an area that is like the bunny slopes of surfing, and whenever I see pictures of myself surfing, it proves there is nothing glorious or cool about this ungraceful ox in the water.  

But the reason it has been life changing has proven to be unexpected.

Surfing has become a unique and needed part of my spiritual diet.

My entire life is about producing.  I like to think of myself as a strong leader and hard worker.  I don't veg out and watch TV, I am always  working, always thinking, always planning.  And when I rest, I have taken up exercise.  Running to loose weight, weights to build muscle.  Everything has a purpose and a time.

Even my devotional life has form and purpose.  I wake up early before my kids, drink coffee, read the scriptures and journal.  It has been my spiritual rhythm for decades.  I am  intentional with how I read through the scriptures, and keep track in my journal my spiritual growth.  I am a machine!

It turns out, that Jesus isn't that impressed with me as a machine.  And the way I found this out was through my wife.  I love my wife so much and love to be relationally (and physically) connected as much as possible.  And me being a productive machine does absolutely zero for her as far as knitting our hearts together.  She simply wants to be together.  

Her heart towards me grows when we have a glass of wine after our kids our in bed, watch a dumb TV show, sit on the couch and read separate things, but together.  It turns out she isn't that impressed with me getting up early and leaving her in bed to be productive, but would rather get us some coffee and enjoy each other's presence.  

As a dumb man, this was all new to me.

Surfing has become this heart connection time for me and Jesus.  There is absolutely nothing productive about it.  I am not good enough for it to be exercise, I will never be good enough to go somewhere epic that gives me street cred.  Sitting on my board during an early morning sunrise in the quite and cold of creation, is the spiritual version of sitting on the couch and cuddling with my wife watching TV.  

Surfing has become a vital component to my spiritual formation and growing my heart for Jesus.  Every week, Jesus and I get to simply be together in His glorious creation.  No agenda, no productivity, and often, no talking.  Just the ministry of presence between my Savior and me.  

I get that for many people surfing isn't going to be an option.  But where in your walk with Jesus do you simply get to be present, simply get to be quiet and enjoy the goodness and grace of Jesus?  Yes, there are times we need to be productive for the Kingdom, but we also need to have our spiritual diet include the disciplines that keep our heart soft for Jesus and enjoy his love and affection towards us as well.

May you be find time to enjoy Jesus today!  Surfs up!