Having lived in Hawaii, California, and Arizona, I know how to be out in the sun and avoid the dreaded sunburn.
Granted it means keeping yourself slathered in sunblock, but it can be done. And being the beachbum that I am, I'm good at it.
But right now I'm not real comfortable with this sunburn I'm experiencing! And last night was "unpleasant."
I haven't been to the beach in almost four years. An insane amount of time for a real beach lover. So yesterday I crammed a lot of work into the morning and gave myself permission to go to the beach. I refused to entertain feelings of false guilt about taking the time, so off to Limantour Beach I went.
I've just recently relocated back to northern California, and where I'm staying at the moment isn't far from one of my favorite beaches anywhere. However, this being the bay area, the weather is rarely warm enough to have a really good (warm) "beach day." But yesterday's weather was a good beach day!
I enjoyed being back at "my beach" so much that I put off adding on the sunblock. It felt so good to be out there, and I rationalized that if I hiked the trails enough, and turned often enough, I could manage the sun. Maybe a little red, but nothing bad.
That was irrational.
By the time I finally gave in and started rubbing in the sunblock, my shoulders were already stinging ... a clear sign there's a sunburn going on. Turns out there was quite a sunburn!
It was a foolish thing to do. I knew better. I just wanted to enjoy things my way and rationalized I could control it and make it work. I couldn't and now I sorely (literally!) regret the pain I've caused myself.
That's often how we face life in general. We think we can do things our way, control things, and avoid getting hurt in the process. But that attitude, in the end, causes a great deal of pain.
Proverbs 14:12 says, "12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death."
If I would have done what I knew worked, I would have had a much better experience at the beach. I enjoyed it while I was there, but the outcome was not good for me. Being self-indulgent hurt me.
It's the same with life. If we follow what we know works, which is obedience to Christ in all things, then we will have the best that's possible for us. It doesn't mean we won't experience pain, but it does mean we won't be inflicting pain on ourselves!
Is there an area of your life that you're indulging in? Something that you're trying to do your way, and might even know better? Let me encourage you to turn around, find God's direction for you, and stay that course.
It will save you a great deal of pain!