Tim Bohlke » // writings

Off the Beach

I have been pretty reflective lately. In a lot of ways this past year has taken me right up to the edge, personally, spiritually, and in my work. It was a year of significant ups and downs, and it was a year that provided huge opportunities to take some steps of faith. One of those steps has been to decide if I am going to believe God or not. Am I going to trust him no matter what? Am I going to believe that He walks every step with me, even when circumstances and obstacles in front of me cause me to doubt that?

As I was looking ahead and thinking about the story that may unfold in the coming months, my mind goes to a recent time on my favorite beach in San Diego. Now Mission Beach is awesome. It has a great vibe. It explodes with life and diversity and I had an encounter with God there that I will never forget.

But there is something about Coronado Beach.

On that beach you can’t escape the beauty and how it collides with mission, passion and purpose.

As I sat there back in August I watched the Navy Seals intensely train for the unknown and for critical missions that awaited them. I also the saw the ships and sailboats pass by Point Loma and head out to open seas. Point Loma and the lighthouse there seem to both invite and point the way to the adventure — the risk, the mission, and the enjoyment of what lies beyond the safe harbor.  Truthfully I could have sat there all day and soaked it in. I could have enjoyed the beauty and been pretty content to stay on that beach and just think about what might lie beyond the harbor.

But as I sat there, it struck me that as critical as that time on the beach was — as important as it it to dream, plan, process and enjoy the moment I was in — it was equally important to move, to step into whatever God had for me. I needed to be willing to step into the risk, the adventure, the mission, and the unpredictable moments that would await beyond the Point Loma lighthouse.

As I think about what lies ahead, the same is true. Dreaming, thinking, hoping, wondering what awaits me is important. The past has shown me that  unpredictable highs and lows that are likely ahead. There will be some adventure, some trials, some opportunities to trust God in even deeper ways. But just sitting — not taking steps, not moving, just staying on the beach — cannot be a option. Life is just to short for that. So when you place yourself on that beach, does anything come to mind that you need to move on in your own life?

In a way this blog is one of those steps for me. I have felt for a while that it is time to write, to process and to take steps with the words that seem to build up in me. It is my hope that these words will somehow encourage, challenge, and maybe inspire you to seek quiet and solitude on your own favorite beach. But I also hope this blog can help you take the steps you need to take. I hope these words might remind you to take the time to dream, hope and access what God may have for you in the coming months, and then to leave the beach and see what is out there.

I will do my best to have entries on Mondays and Thursdays.  It will be an open, sometimes raw, always honest conversation. So feel free to join me and we will see where it goes.

So here is to the days ahead and the invitation God has made to each of us to move past the safe harbor and join him in the journey.

In the Gray

I’m often reminded of a devotional I read a long time ago by Oswald Chambers. He talked about the importance of learning to live in the ordinary gray days according to what we saw on the mountain.

That’s a great challenge to me. I love the mountains. For some reason, I think more clearly there. It is a great thing for me to leave business and stress behind and head to Colorado for the solitude, the silence, the fantastic beauty, and some pretty good fishing and biking.

For many years I have biked down the No. 401 trail in Crested Butte, Colorado. Right above Gothic pass, you have to push your bike up this single-track trail. After an aggressive stretch through a meadow, you emerge through some trees and you can see for miles down the valley to Crested Butte. On the other side, if you climb a little higher, you can see the Maroon Belle Mountain Range.
I’ve had many great moments with friends and with God at the top of that trail. I came to somewhat of a peace with the loss of my parents. I have caught ideas and thoughts on my future up there. For whatever reason, I just feel closer to God there.

But I don’t live in the mountains.

One thing I have to do is remind myself often about the whispers I heard from God in the mountains. I have to believe in those God moments and live according to what I heard then on those days that are gray and flat.