I have experienced things people only dream about. You see, I grew up in California. Still live here. Which means, the beach is a staple in my life. Going to Newport Beach or Huntington Beach defined my summers in my teen years. In college, regular trips to San Diego included La Jolla, Sea World and Coronado. For about ten years, I regularly led worship at a conference in Santa Barbara. This meant a yearly trip to that amazing beach. I literally just returned from a long weekend in Santa Barbara.
As we drove the 101 freeway next to the ocean, I realized how few people get this gift regularly. I saw car license plates from New York, Arkansas and other states. For some, this was their first trip to Santa Barbara. For me, it’s normal. Even when we shopped the Sunday art and craft fair along Cabrillo Blvd., I knew a few vendors and their products. I had purchased items from them over the years.
Am I telling you all of this to brag? Not at all. I want to encourage you to look at your normal and see what would be considered a treat to others. My normal is some of the greatest beaches in the USA. For you, it may be some of the best hiking trails, best cuisine, most eclectic art work, incredible musicians, best hometown parade, extreme amusement park, etc. What is something you do annually? Is it something others travel from out-of-state to experience? Think about it. Then thank God for it.
I am humbled and grateful to be able to live in a place where the beach is normal for me. I love it rain or shine. It gives me great peace, delight and relaxation. I know people from all over the world dream of coming to Santa Barbara or San Diego or many of our local beaches. Just as I dream of visiting their towns and beaches someday. For now, I am soaking in the joy of loving where I live. In 2 hours, I can be in paradise. In 45 minutes, I can be on the sand. In my mind, I can relive the serenity over and over again.
Think of your version of paradise that you get to at least annually. Soak it in. Treasure it. Share your pictures on Facebook. Thank the Lord for His incredible provision.
Dream Big! Pray Big!
P.S. The picture is the view from my hotel room this past few days.