No, the title isn’t talking about a grouchy person. It’s about a real, live crab. One that I encountered one day on the Oregon coast as I walked along the beach. It was early morning, with the rising sun streaming across the vast water, the glory of the sunrise reflected in the wet sand. I’d gotten a little to close to the surf as it came in, and since I hadn’t rolled up my pants legs, I had to run a bit to avoid them getting wet. As I paused to remedy the pants leg situation, I noticed something tumbling in the receding surf.
A little crab.
The water had rolled it up out of the sea, leaving it on its back in the wet sand. No sooner had the little guy righted itself, than it scrambled, pell mell, back toward the ocean. Yet again, the incoming surf grabbed the crab, somersaulting it back to the sand, leaving it wriggling on its back. And yet again, the little critter flipped itself upright and scampered for the sea. This went on for several minutes, and I found myself rooting for the determined crustacean. And sure enough, after repeated efforts, the crab finally made it. Back into the water, where he vanished from my sight.
I gave a little cheer, and went on my way. But as I did so, it hit me. That should be me. And all of us. So often in this crazy writing world, we’re carried by forces we can’t control. Things that take our world and turn it on end, that tumble and spin us until we don’t know which way is up. Too often when that happens, we lie there, deposited in the wet sand of disappointment or discouragement, and wail. Cry out against how unfair it all is. Let anger and bitterness take root. When what we need to do is right ourselves and rush back into the arms of the God who gave us this task to begin with. Fight against the pull and sway of any setback or surprise, and plunge yet again into the depths of His truth, His guidance, His peace.
Friends, when the tides of your career seem against you, don’t give up. When the surf grabs you and carries you far from where you expect or want to be, don’t lie down and wait. Get back on your feet of faith, and make for God like your life depends on it. Because, it does.
Like that crab, when we refuse to be derailed, when we immerse ourselves in the life-giving waters of His truth and presence, we will know we’re safe. Even more than that…
I can so relate to these crustaceans. Maybe it’s why one of my favorite Disney songs is Under the Sea. It’s always such a fun thing to sing during karaoke nights (of which there’s a lot where I’m from). I’ve had my knocks in life. I think we all have, and I have the tendency to be more like Sadness (from the Inside Out Pixar movie). Even my friends say I’m her, but I’m learning that though there’s beauty in my being like Sadness, there’s also joy to be had in every moment we have, because He is always in control.
The Message version of Psalm 90:1-2 has really been speaking to me lately, and I think it aligns with your message:
God, it seems You’ve been our home forever;
long before the mountains were born,
Long before You brought earth itself to birth,
from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—You are God.
I love that last line. I think it was written specifically for us fiction writers. No matter what, from the beginning of the story up to its end, He is God.
Thanks for this! He will sustain us all!
Thank you very much for sharing the verses, Joanna.
Amen and amen!
Great post, Karen! Exactly what The Divine wanted me to read and savor today. 🙂 Go, go little crab…and writers all. Thanks so much for sharing your at-the-ocean-insights.
You’re welcome. Love that you rooted for the crab–and writers!
Beautiful, Karen. Amazing what a crab can teach us.
B.J. wrote: “Amazing what a crab can teach us.”
Almost makes me feel guilty for the snow crab legs I had for dinner a few days ago.
Persistence and falling back into God’s arms.
Thank you very much for today’s lessons, Ms. Ball.
You’re most welcome!
Great image, Karen!
Sometimes, when we get too self-sufficient, God may let those waves toss and tumble us until we remember how much we want to be with him and do whatever it takes to return.
Great insight, Carol. Thanks.
Wonderful imagery. Powerful inspiration. Thank you, Karen, for this fresh look at persistence. I will be thinking about it all day.
Thanks, Theresa. I love how God reveals Himself to us in the most unexpected ways.
This is so appropriate for writers. Many of us face a lot of rejection while trying to get our work out there, but from what I have read, persistence pays off in the end. Thank you for this post.
Persistence and remembering that we’re not doing this on our own. That we’re being obedient to the One who gave us this task, and the outcome is in His almighty hands. 🙂
Thanks for noticing those things God puts in our paths just to give us a message we need. Thankful for your spiritual insight and for sharing it with us. I’ve been a little sidetracked lately but this is just the motivation I needed to keep moving.
Linda, I’m so glad it helped!
Brennan S. McPherson
Wonderful post, Karen! Thanks so much for this timely encouragement.
Sheri Dean Parmelee
Karen, thanks for those words of encouragement. I can picture the crab so easily, having “been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and worn the hat.”
Ha! Me, too. In fact, my closet overflows with said T-shirts and hats.
Hmmm…maybe it’s time to clean out the closet!
Darlene L. Turner
Loved this post, Karen. There are days when I just want to give up and let the sea take me, but I need to flip around and let my little legs do the walking. Onward and upward. I needed this today. Thanks!
Darlene, you’re welcome. So grateful we don’t have to do this on our own.
Thank you, Karen. The disappointments sometimes are turned into cheers when we realize what God really had in store for us all along. That [whatever we wanted] wasn’t what He wanted. <3