The 17 Mile Drive

This past week I spent a few days in Monterey, California and if you’ve never been, it’s definitely somewhere that should be on your bucket list. The little downtown area and Cannery Row are like being in a postcard and the scenic drives are something out of travel magazines. One thing I did on this trip was the 17 Mile Drive. This was hands-down one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. The scenery is something you can only see here. No matter how many beaches you’ve gone to or how many bodies of water you’ve visited, it just can’t compare to the sights you’ll see on the 17 Mile Drive.

I ended up at the starting gate completely by “accident.” I didn’t really have a plan and I had asked YHVH to take me where He wanted me to go before I left my hotel room. Well, YHVH never fails and through His Spirit (and a little help from Siri) I ended up at the starting gate to the 17 Mile Drive.

As I drove and stopped at each spot, I took pictures, marveled at the sights, and thanked YHVH for the beauty of His creation. But it wasn’t until I was back in my room did the importance of my drive sink in. It was in my room that night that I was able to reflect on what I learned about life in those 17 miles.

1. You can’t stay at one spot forever.

No matter how much you’re enjoying it or how comfortable you get, it just can’t be done. On the drive, there are some spots that are so breathtakingly beautiful, you’ll want to stay forever. This just isn’t possible. For one thing, it will eventually get dark and you’ll get hungry, or cold, or tired, or need the bathroom, or the park ranger will come kick you out! It just isn’t possible to stay at only one spot on the entire drive.

And if you do decide to stay at only one spot on the entire 17 mile drive, then that means you’re missing out on all the other beautiful stops along the way. And trust me, you want to stop at as many different spots as you can!image

In life, we often times get so comfortable in one spot or place that we struggle and fight when it’s time to move on to something new.

It can be difficult to leave something that is so comfortable and familiar but it’s also necessary to move on to other things. Leaving the beauty of one spot is necessary in order to experience the beauty of somewhere new. In each season of life there is beauty and adventure; but it’s up to us to find it.

2. Just because you’re leaving what you love about one spot, that doesn’t mean you won’t find something you love at the next spot.

In fact, you’re almost certain to find something beautiful at the next spot. The entire drive was breathtakingly gorgeous. But most times, you couldn’t see your next stop from the place you were in at the moment. Whether there was a bend in the road or you had to drive a little ways before the next stop, you couldn’t always see the beauty that awaited you if you just kept going. But you have to trust that the next place would be worth leaving your current place. As hard as it was, I had to leave the beauty and tranquility of one spot only to discover something new and beautiful about another.

In my own life I have noticed that I am often afraid of change because I am afraid of losing what I have in my current season of life. I am so sacred of letting go of what I love about this time in my life that I forget about all the possibilities and hope for what comes next. I think what scares us is the unknown or how different the next stop will be. But we have to remember that…

3. No two stops are the same. Each one is different and unique…and that’s ok.

It doesn’t mean something is wrong or that you’re not imagewhere you’re supposed to be. It just means that we of through different seasons in our lives. Each spot on the drive was so different from the last. Some had rougher waves. Some had more people. Some were very quiet. Some were very rocky. Some were the most peaceful spots on earth. They were all part of the same coast, the same drive, the same path; and yet, each spot on the road was different than the one before.

Often times, we move into new seasons of life and panic because things are different or because the things that used to work for us no longer do.image That’s ok. Its ok to change. Its ok to grow and learn new things. Its ok to let go of the past.

Because no two stops were exactly the same, I had to enjoy each spot and then keep moving on. I couldn’t stay in one spot all day…even though there were some places that I didn’t want to leave.

4. Its ok to just be.

There were some places that I stayed at longer and some that I stayed at shorter,image but I had to enjoy what I liked about each spot because once I left, I couldn’t take it with me. I had to really be in the moment. At first, this wasn’t so easy for me. I wanted to take pictures, and walk around, and see every detail of every place. But YHVH gently reminded me that if I didn’t stop and appreciate the beauty that was before me, I would miss it and that moment would be gone forever. More importantly, I would miss that moment with Him.

When you’re at each stop in life, it’s good to just be still and imageappreciate the moments of life. It’s a right thing to quiet your life and take in all the beauty of the season in which you find yourself; to not do anything but to simply sit in the stillness and be with Him. Each moment and season is a gift from YHVH and it’s important to appreciate each season, even the rough ones, in its fullness.

5. The drive between stops is just as important as each destination.

The drive itself to get to each point was magnificent. The trees and flowers that I drove by were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. And, yet, if you’re too rushed to get to the next point, you’ll miss all of it.

Don’t overlook the times where you’re in-between stops. It’s all part of the journey. imageBut if you don’t slow down and take the time to appreciate it, you’ll miss something beautiful. These are the parts you don’t usually take pictures of or share with your friends or even recognize right away as being important, but there are many lessons and beautiful experiences to be had on the drive between stops. While this part of the journey usually gets overlooked, it is without a doubt a necessary part of the process.

6. No matter where you are on the journey, YHVH is always with you.

A funny thing happened on my drive. I could feel His Spirit telling me that He wanted to share some things with me but that I needed to give Him full control of this journey I was on, including the music that played. Whenever this happens, I know that YHVH is wanting to use even the songs that play to speak to me in some way. So I stopped, asked YHVH to take full control, and then put my iPod on shuffle.

Every song that played after that had to do with water and being courageous in this walk of life. I knew that YHVH was using even something that seemed so small and insignificant to set the tone for my drive and to speak His words to me.

And with every stop, there was a song; the perfect song for that place and time. The exact words that He wanted to speak to me and the exact words I needed to hear. I could feel His presence at each stop and was comforted to know that He was with me at every, single point on this drive.

imageIn the same way, when we allow YHVH to have full control of our lives, He provides every, single thing we need at the exact moment we need it. His Spirit never leaves us. He always goes with us. He is faithful to provide His love, comfort, and direction each step of the way.

So I encourage you, on this journey of life, to embrace each season you find yourself in, enjoy each moment as it happens, and not be afraid to leave the old things behind and move on to new places. Its scary, exciting, and so worth it! Take comfort in the fact that when YHVH goes with you, He is faithful to provide for and protect you. The road may take unexpected turns, but He will never let you remain lost or stranded. My journey may look different than your journey, but that’s ok! We must each quiet our busy lives to hear the direction that YHVH is calling to each of us. The journey is long but so incredibly beautiful. image

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