his past week, my mother, my daughter and I went on a girls-only trip. We rented a quaint little 1940’s cabin on the water in Wimberley, Texas, where the creek ran past us in little waterfalls, the June bugs sang lullabies every evening, and a deer and her two fawns came within three feet of us as we fed them bread.
The cabin came equipped with a full kitchen, a washer and dryer, water toys, and a complimentary fruit basket! On our first afternoon, my daughter and I decided to sit our backsides in the inner tubes and see where the creek led us. We grabbed our iced-tea-filled Starbucks mugs and splashed into the center of the stream, positioned ourselves in our lifesaver-shaped pontoons, and waited.
Not much happened at first. We had to pull our lifesavers around us like fluffy hula skirts and slosh to a deeper spot. Finally, we found a place where we could actually float, and off we went, nice and easy, chattering about everything and nothing and having a grand old time. After a bit, we arrived at the end of our cove, where some little rapids hijacked us onto a Six-Flags level roller-coaster ride.
Okay, it was one of the kiddie rides, but still.
At the end of the ride, our bottoms dragged bottom and we had no place else to go. We wanted to ride our little rapids again, but in order to do so, we had to get out and haul our inner tubes back up the creek. We could either trudge against the current to the starting point, or we could climb out onto a big, flat slab and take the easy way.
But perched right in the middle of that big concrete rock, nailed to a post, was a sign that read “PRIVATE PROPERTY.” There was some small print underneath.
Me: I don’t think we’re supposed to go onto that rock.
Charis: There’s no one around. I think it’ll be fine, Mom.
So carefully, cautiously, we skulked over the slab, afraid someone might see us and call the rock police. We made it across undetected, rode the epic water current ride again, and repeated the entire slink-and-hide, ride the waves sequence several times before I stopped to read the small print on that sign. It said:
Reserved for current guests only.
Current guests. Cute.
The sign went on to read that unless you are a paying guest of one of the properties on that cove, you are not invited to use that slab.
I was a current paying guest. That meant I was allowed on the slab! I didn’t have to slink and skulk. I could hold my head high and plant my feet firmly on the concrete. I am paying-guest, hear me roar!
The next day, we floated back to our new version of Six-Flags-on-the-River. This time, another family was on our slab, looking us over from head-to-toe, trying to figure out if we were legit patrons or imposters.
I climbed onto the slab and squish-squished over to the sign, leaving a wet trail with my grocery-store water shoes.
Me: (Speaking loudly enough so the judgy family can hear.) Oh, look Charis. It says this is for use only by paying guests. Aren’t we lucky we have that little cabin at the end down there.
Charis: (Rolls eyes.)
We rode the current a couple of times before abandoning that section of the river for deeper, smoother waters. But as I floated, it occurred to me. I wonder how often I’ve assumed the good stuff in life wasn’t for me? I wonder how many times I’ve walked right on past some really great blessings, simply because I thought they were reserved for someone more important, someone more worthy?
Or what about the times I’ve cautiously taken advantage of those blessed opportunities, slinking and skulking my way through them, waiting for God to yank them back at any moment as if I’m not the intended recipient?
That’s when I had one of those sunglasses-wearing, bright-light moments. I am a paying guest in this thing called life, and God has all kinds of good things in store for me. He has fruit baskets of blessings and delightful water toys to help me navigate the currents that carry me through my time here.
The good stuff is mine for the taking. I am the intended recipient of love, peace, joy, laughter, and so much more.
I am God’s child. Hear me roar.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him,” 1 Corinthians 2:9.