Surfing isn’t a sport you can practice in your bedroom, in your backyard, or somewhere all by yourself where no one can see you. Nope. The majority of the time there are anywhere from a few to many people surrounding you in the water and on the beach when you “practice” surfing. It’s a public thing—the ocean is open to all and waves are free. So as much as I try to find a spot in the lineup without too many people, there are still those who get to see me in ‘all my glory’ make mistakes out in the open in front of everyone.
Since I’ve always preferred being “behind the scenes,” surfing in front of everyone — especially really good surfers — has brought to light some of the shame, fear, and rejection that has been hidden within me. Am I as good as them? Am I worthy to be out here surfing too? By the way I surf, can I really call myself a surfer?
Shame tells me I’m going to humiliate myself and look foolish. Fear tells me why should I even try, I’m too old for this, I’m gonna get hurt. Which leads to rejection telling me, I don’t belong here with everyone else, I’m not accepted, I’m not good enough.
This is what’s going through my head on a bad day, when I’m not resting in Father’s love. Notice how everything that shame, fear, and rejection tell me has to do with other people’s view of me? But why should that matter if I know deeply that Father God loves me no matter what? If I already have the approval, acceptance, and admiration of God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, why should I worry about what anyone else thinks?
So on a good day, I’m secure in His love when I go surfing. Yes, I usually do make a fool out of myself and I wipeout a lot, but I don’t care. I’m having fun and communion with Jesus in the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean. To me it doesn’t matter what others think — which, by the way, I’ve found some really sweet locals that are encouraging and welcoming — I know that I’m not out here to prove anything to anybody. I just want to enjoy nature, get some exercise and have fun!
Yes, I still battle with some of that shame, fear, and rejection at times. I mean, who really likes to make mistakes in front of everyone all the time? But I try to not let that stop me. I know I’m older and slower and will never be a great surfer, but it doesn’t matter. I rest in knowing that I am loved just as I am, not needing anything from anyone but my Father. Then I get in the water and savor His beautiful Creation here in northeast Florida with the sunshine, the dolphins, the wind, and the awesome feeling of riding a wave.