As a surfer I have found it's not good enough to just catch the wave, you need to be able to catch the wave in the right position.
Sometimes what happens is you see the set wave approaching and the adrenaline kicks in, especially if it's large surf, and you can find yourself on the tipping point between panic or rushing and waiting and calmly approaching the wave.
There can be several outcomes—maybe a big wipe-out. The more common occurrence is that you catch the wave and the length of that ride will be determined by the power of the wave, the speed going into the wave, and your line or direction.
These three elements are critical when it comes to surfing the wave to its fullest potential. This potential is monitored based on your expectations, your skill and your drive to succeed.
As the time has passed in my surfing life I have quickly realised that I want to push myself to surf a wave to its fullest potential. It's not just good enough to catch the wave any more. My 'stoke' or excitement comes from how well or how radically I can surf that wave.
This is not just an online surfing lesson—I have realised that positioning yourself in anticipation of the next wave can be applied to so many facets of the human experience.
As a keen surfer I regularly hit the waves 12 months a year, but what I discovered recently was you can't pick the right set wave and draw the right lines if you're not in the water.
A recent sermon was about showing up each day for life and approaching each day with expectation, anticipation and hope. To be honest with you this was the last thing I wanted to hear, even though I needed to hear it.
I realised I was not hitting the water of life, let alone the ocean. My life had become about complaining, depression and hopelessness.
My mind was in conflict: as a Jesus follower—one who accepts the grace of Christ's sacrifice and has been cleansed and set free—did I have an excuse to feel like this? I am a Christian leader in my community and my conclusion was there was no way I should be feeling this way and be a Christian.
I reached breaking point. I had a problem that needed to be addressed so I could show up for life once again.
Death to life ... an introduction
On this side of eternity, we are part of life and death cycles. This is illustrated by the Father's very own Son and the requirement of the innocent lamb, Jesus, to die a criminal's death, for Him to remain dead for a significant amount of time and then to resurrect and show us the way to the Father (John chapter 3, verse 16). His death is the ultimate sacrifice for us.
However, what the scripture tells us is that we need to go through this process of death to life daily. The words 'Take up your cross, deny yourself and follow me' (Luke chapter 9, verse 23) don't exactly sound rosy or full of hope and life, but they are exactly that.
Confusion around being blessed
Why would the Father subject us to such a painful, stretching, at times horrendous process? We experience this in losing a loved one physically, but we also can experience this in the grief of lost friendship, career opportunities, home and so much more. Taking up our cross ultimately means dying to ourselves—what we want and desire—in order to live for God.
We so often expect the blessings of the Christian experience to be about circumstance and events, but the word of God reveals a completely different understanding of blessing.
The Message translation puts it this way: 'you're blessed when you are at the end of your rope', paraphrasing the beatitude 'blessed are the poor in spirit'.
The Hebrew meaning for the word 'blessing' denotes a posture, or action word, of kneeling in humility—allowing the Father to enrich us not with things, but with His incredible love, enabling us to walk out this life on this side of eternity—no matter what may come against us.
Psalm 112, verse 7 says of the believer: 'He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD'. This can only truly be the case if we embrace the patterns of the Father in the earthly process of death to life.
Justin Monaghan is currently launching as a professional prophetic artist under the label JR Faith Creations and runs a creative home fellowship with his wife Liana. Justin is also heavily involved in his local surfing community of South Australia as a surf coach, a judge of surf contests and a member of Christian Surfers
Check out JR Faith Creations to see some of his art at https://www.facebook.com/Jrfaithcreations
Justin Monaghan's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/justin-monaghan.html