I was 18 and on the trip of a lifetime. I had travelled in Canada and had driven through the New England States on our way to Ontario, but I had never ventured south. I admired people who would pack up and head to warm places in the middle of our frigid Canadian winters, spending long days in the sun while the rest of us bundled up in parkas and tried to hide our Seasonal Affective Disorder. They would come back all tanned and happy, looking slightly out of place amongst the rest of us, especially next to me with my pasty skin and freckles.
So, I was given the amazing opportunity to spend a week in the Florida sun, visiting theme parks and orange groves, walking through warm sand on crowded beaches. Equally thrilling was missing a week of school after already taking a week off in March. There I was, living my dream. Descending in Orlando and laying my eyes on the remarkably different landscape was exhilarating, stepping out into the hot sunshine instantly made my mood jump, feeling the 90% humidity made my hair curl up like Mr. Noodles. It was an instant reminder that nothing is perfect and I was forced to accept my Q-tip like appearance for the entire week.
One of the highlights was four days at Disney World. I wasn’t prepared for just how gigantic those parks were. There were people everywhere, the lines were beyond long for everything, and it was hot! The first day was great, I remembered to apply sunscreen every two hours to my fair skin, I remembered to drink a lot of water. The second day wasn’t so bad either. I applied sunscreen a couple of times and drank more water than I normally would have, we left the park and spent the rest of the day by the pool. The third day we took a break from park hopping and visited an orange grove and a beautiful beach, where I neglected to reapply sunscreen and didn’t even finish a quarter of the water I should have.
We arrived at our time share that evening and I was looking a lot like you would expect a red head to look after hours in the sun unprotected. I resembled a lobster after being boiled for twenty minutes. Aside from being sore, I was still feeling pretty good, probably still riding high on the excitement of experiencing all these new things. Too bad I wasn’t tuned into the signals my body was giving me. The next day we returned to Disney and began taking in all of the different sights. As the day went on I was starting to feel a bit tired, dizzy almost. I chalked it up to not sleeping well and pushed myself to keep going. By noon it was apparent that it was more than just lack of sleep, my legs went numb and I needed to be taken to the first aid building. I honestly don’t remember much after I felt my legs gave way, until I woke up on a bed, in an air conditioned room, with fluids being administered.
This illustrates to me the all to common condition we can find ourselves in spiritually. It happens slowly, over time, while we are busy going about our daily tasks, dealing with life, and forgetting where our source of strength comes from. Our Bible gets a bit dusty, our prayers get short, reduced to surface conversations instead of deep wells of revelation, and we start to feel dry. Like I became physically dehydrated, we can easily become spiritually dehydrated. We need to be refreshed in God’s presence daily, relying on Him constantly, allowing Him to fill us so we can deal with our day to day lives.
Drawing our strength from our God can’t happen any other way but to have deep conversations with Him, listening to His voice and trusting in His goodness. He knows how to restore our soul, to revive our dreams, and to speak life to our dead hopes. Don’t ignore the signs when busyness threatens to choke out time alone with Holy Spirit, run to Him, drink from the River, and gain new strength.