Life Advice from a Panama City Surf Shop

Last week, I went on vacation with my family to Panama City, Florida. This trip was in celebration of my mom’s graduation from nursing school – a lifelong dream that was incredibly worked out by God. We had a lovely time, the four of us – my mom, sister, brother, and me. The sun shone, the water was clear (even I, who normally don’t swim because I don’t like not being able to see what’s in the water around me, was able to enjoy swimming), and we made some great family memories.

As we were driving back to the hotel for the last night, I saw a sign by one of the many surf shops we passed. It was one of those with the changeable letters. This particular one caught my eye because it wasn’t the typical “15% off everything!” type deals - this one actually had some words worth reading:

Life Advice from a Panama City Surf Shop

First, I was shocked to see words glorifying Christ on a surf shop sign in Panama City Beach. Maybe it’s just because of where I live - in a town outside Atlanta - but I am not used to seeing God’s name openly mentioned in a beautiful way, particularly in the context of a business. So, this was really exciting.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how profound that was. On this one little surf shop sign, I found succinct advice on how to live a good life.

Honor Christ.

This is the first and most important principle for living a good life. Our first priority should be honoring Christ in everything we do, say, and think. This includes our decisions, words, goals, habits, and relationships.

Jesus gave everything for us – the King of the Universe humbly made Himself the lowest in order to prove His great Love for us. He deserves our honor in every aspect of life, not just in the quiet moments.

[pullquote width="300" float="right"]To honor means to treat with high respect or esteem.[/pullquote]

To honor means to treat with high respect or esteem. For instance, we honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our country. So, to honor Jesus in our lives is to treat Him with high respect, and to esteem, to value Him. When you value something, you treat it well. You don’t treat people you honor as leftovers – you treat them as deserving of the highest respect, attention, love, and obedience.

Let’s do the same with our Lord – let’s honor Him in the quiet, hidden parts of our lives as well as openly before others, so that the world may be reminded that He is a God worth taking seriously.

Live Simple.

We tend to complicate life. We get tied up in a messy bundle of distractions, focusing on things that are wastes of time and energy. We think we need tons of material things, or at least the best things, to be happy. We complicate relationships and callings.

Really, it’s quite simple though – be thankful. What you currently have? It’s enough. You are breathing. You are not starving. You are not running around naked or in rags. You have the Holy Spirit as a constant companion so you don’t have to be lonely.

And if you take a look at your own individual life and slow down to pay attention to the details, you’ll find that the Lord has actually sprinkled TONS of gifts all over the place – you just have to look for them. Pray for your eyes to be opened to recognize them. Give thanks.

And learn to live with less. Minimalism reduces stress, allowing you to fully enjoy what you have. Because after all, less is more. Instead of relying on more things, look for pleasure in planning a dinner date with friends, playing at the park, reading a book, or enjoying a song.

Panama City, Florida - Image by Kimberly Miller

Stay Fit.

Far too many of us push physical fitness to the side. When I say us, I mean me. It’s easy to procrastinate on pursuing physical fitness because exercise is just plain hard. It’s painful, requires discipline and commitment, and at times, it just seems like it’s not really worth the effort.

But, being physically fit is one of the best ways you can take care of what God has given you – if you are fit, you’ll feel more content overall, you’ll have more energy and strength to accomplish the tasks God gives you to do, and you’ll be able to go on adventures that might be physically strenuous.

Some ideas to stay fit: take an exercise class, borrow exercise videos from the library, watch fitness instructors on youtube, or find a friend to go walking or running with. And don’t forget the importance of eating healthy with moderate portions, drinking plenty of pure water, and getting plenty of sleep.

Share Waves.

It’s easy to forget the lessons we learned as children – once we grow out of the playroom, we don’t see the application of having learned to share our toys. In the grown-up world, though, sharing is just as important a lesson to practice. If you have a gift, don’t hog the stage – learn to share it.

[pullquote width="300" float="right"]If you have a gift, don’t hog the stage – learn to share it.[/pullquote]

Give attention to others. Be an advocate for others’ work, art, and needs. Learn how to work together as a team instead of flying solo all the time. Give people space and take a backseat so they can learn too. Play together! Enjoy sharing the same space, hobbies, and work. Don’t compete or monopolize – share, and you’ll find friendships in unlikely places.

Have Fun.

After all, we only have one life to live. Be serious about what matters, but don’t get so lost in the seriousness of life that you forget to enjoy the gift of life, work, art, and friendships.

Find pleasure in the little things. Recognize joy in the sound of laughter, the twinkle of sun reflecting from a window, the blink of a firefly, the glint of a star, the crumble of a cupcake, the fur of a dog, the soar of a bird’s song, the turning of a book’s page.

Play games. Look for adventures. If you find the fun in the ordinary, you’ll learn that life is a lot more enjoyable than unwillingly resigning yourself to drudgery.

So there you have it. The good life really is just as simple as that.

Do you have any practical ideas of ways to live these principles out?

Images by Kimberly Miller.