I went to the beach last Saturday. All by myself. With no plan other than to read one of my books for March and journal whatever came to mind.
I used to love going to the beach. I used to love being near the ocean. I used to love swimming and allowing myself to be swept away by each wave.
I would say that I still have those same feelings, except this was my first time even going to the beach since I moved to this peninsula (Florida) in January 2018. Why has it taken me so long?
One summer while in undergrad I participated in a research internship at The University of Miami Graduate School. I was at the beach and swimming every weekend during the 10-week program. No matter who else in the internship came with me each weekend, I was there. The sea at South Beach was like a magnet. I remember the sand was a light beige color and the water warm and clear. You could walk a far distance from the shore and still not hit the dip in the ocean that takes you deeper. I loved every moment of my time there.
It makes me wonder where my enjoyment of certain aspects from my childhood all went. Things like swimming and going to the beach; playing basketball well after the sun went to sleep; getting lost in writing stories and having them come to life through illustration.
This week I reread pieces of writing from a journal I had when I was 11. I wrote down the five things I wanted to be when I grew up:
1. A basketball player
2. A writer
3. A fashion designer
4. A chef
5. A basketball coach
The only thing on that list that I’m still passionate about is writing. I’m interested in cooking, a little bit. Like a little tiny bit.
Back then I was constantly in the water, outside playing, inside creating and now I go to the beach and just sit there.
What I have realized is that I long to get back to that childhood wonder I had in regard to the things in life that I do still enjoy as well as in my relationship with Jesus Christ.
On my way to the beach I stopped at Target and picked out two composition notebooks. One is covered in reddish-orange sunflowers and the other is a scenic view of the Everglades. I became excited thinking about using the type of notebooks I used while I was in school, doodling in the margins and writing poems whenever the words came to mind. I wanted to see if using this classic medium would make an impact on what and how much I write. The composition notebooks now have spirals attached to them which makes them even more wonderful.
I also picked up two boxes of the original Barnum’s Animals Crackers, a box of Swedish Fish and a Sprite. Beach essentials of course.
What I’ve noticed over the past week is not only have I been writing more than I have been recently, but I’ve been consistently writing every day. I even feel more creative. I don’t think it’s the journals themselves, but that childhood desire coming back alive within me. My writing has consisted mostly of journaling reflections on my life and journey of faith, as well as coming up with different ideas for blog posts and short stories.
My two main goals for this year are to develop a consistent life of prayer and writing, two essential foundational pieces of my life that I’ve never really had before.
Yes, I pray and I write, but not consistently. Not yet anyways. But I’m on my way, as it’s a desire of mine to constantly grow in my faith, grow as a writer and as me, Raine.
In both prayer and writing - relationship with Jesus and words - I feel like I’m going back to the beginning. Back to when the Holy Spirit first met me alone in my room, in between the lines of my journals and then introduced me to Jesus at the age of 13 and I started praying through words to my heavenly Father.
The best thing about journaling is that I’m writing directly to the heart of God. And when I create stories and poems, He’s sitting right there with me.
For me, prayer and writing have always been connected.
How Am I Currently Developing a Consistent Life of Prayer & Writing?
One way I’m doing this is by staying off of social media for a while. I don’t know how long yet, but for some time. I need the space to clear my mind from seeing what everyone else is doing and focus on what I’m doing. So far it has been such a breath of fresh air.
I am also reading more - the Bible and other books. In order to know Jesus, I have to come to His Word daily and in order to become a better writer I have to read what other people are writing. Reading is about learning and growing.
And of course, learning to talk to Jesus throughout my day and journal, both every day.
So, this is where I am currently in my journey of faith. It’s a long process - building or rebuilding a relationship with Jesus and writing - so I’m learning to slow down. It’s not about how much or how fast I can produce, but really about building a foundation for the life I want.
I look forward to writing and sharing more as I go. I am also trying to figure out the next time I’ll be going to the beach. Going back to something I love has clearly made a huge impact on me and I do miss the ocean. I’m excited to discover more.
Next time though, I won’t be alone. A couple people have already told me that they want to come too.
I will definitely be swimming.
Grace & Peace,