by Audrey House
Refuge, something it seems we always need in this crazy life and, let me speak for myself, can never find. Last week I went on a glorious spring break vacation to Hawaii! It was packed with all of my favorite things, quality time with my hubby, adventure, and let's not forget, SHAVED ICE. Let me tell you, Hawaiian shaved ice will blow your local snow cone out of the water! I had great hopes that this trip would allow me to escape my daily struggles and find the peace that usually evades me.
So let me tell you a story, my husband and I love to send postcards when we travel, silly, old-fashioned postcards. We always take way too long selecting the perfect scenes to represent our trip. This vacation was no different, I found the perfect postcard with a mountain and volcano scene for my parents and one with a gorgeous beach complete with aqua blue water and palm trees for a childhood friend. We had a little break from our adventures on an island-hopping flight, and I proceeded to write out my messages with my indigo ink pen. I'm a lefty and so my life has always been plagued with smudges. Any lefties out there feel me? Knowing this, I cautiously waved my postcard around to dry the ink. Thinking that had done the trick, I went on to address them. Well guess what? I still somehow created huge smears across them both! Now this may seem like no big deal, but let me tell you, I'm a perfectionist. It nearly killed me, it was all I could do to not rip them to shreds and buy more. I get so engulfed in feeling inadequate that even tiny insignificant things like messy postcards sometimes really get to me. I compare myself to the women who can hand letter beautifully and it leaves me feeling like a failure. You would think that on the breathtaking Hawaiian islands I could have avoided that stupid feeling, that I could have broken from that weight of always doing things Instagram perfect. You would think that, but guess what? I couldn't.
In Hawaii, I realized that escaping and finding refuge are two very different things. Yes escape can be enjoyable, I certainly enjoyed the shaved ice that I ate nearly every day! My escape from laundry and cooking dinner every night was awesome! In the end though, those escapes were simply distractions from the thoughts and feelings of inadequacy that chase me around.
This is the truth that I need to remember, but so often forget. Refuge is only found in one place and it's not in Hawaii, Bora Bora, or Timbuktu; it's in the arms of Jesus our Savior. This is Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG):
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Tired, worn out, burned out on trying so hard to be perfect? Yep that sounds like me. But living freely and lightly, now that is something I want. Hawaii and shaved ice make for a great distraction but God's rest is the real deal. So I hope for me and for you that we can find peace from our messy postcard lives by finding true refuge in Him!