When someone asks how your summer has been what is the first thing that comes to mind?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who would express, “man it’s flying by,” or “I can’t believe we’re almost through August already!”
It’s so interesting to me how quickly the season of slowness, changes into a season of long days that never seem to last quite long enough. We have been blessed with weather that screams get outside and enjoy, but all too quickly turns in to cool nights and gearing back up for the fall. Now don’t get me wrong here, I absolutely love the fall. I love that back-to-school anticipation. Even though I’m not in school anymore I live vicariously through all the children in my life. I love hearing about their summer, listening to them reunite with friends, and seeing the immense growth that has taken place in what feels like the blink of an eye.
For others, this time of year might feel daunting, overwhelming, or stressful. And I can relate to that feeling as well. In all honesty the words “relaunch” or “go back to” or “start” can also make me feel anxious at times, and more recently I’ve been really wondering why that is.
I had a conversation with a friend recently who too is feeling anxious for all the changes in his life. There was a definite hesitation, and maybe fear that things are changing once again for him. As we chatted about what’s going on I began realizing that a lot of time this fear or anxiety stems from feeling ill prepared. Stems from dreading or maybe even fearing another season of slowness after being caught up in the excitement that summer brings. I was struck with the realization that for me, it also comes from a place of mistrust for the direction I am heading next.
You see when the summer began, I was so eager to dive in to all the adventures I had in front of me. I’m sure many of you can relate to this. I dove in so quickly that my full schedule began to burst with all the things I had been longing to do. And what I didn’t consider was how I planned to keep myself grounded and connected to God throughout this season. At times I have neglected to make room for Him in my busy schedule. Yes I pray, attend church, join church online, and engage in conversations with other Christians about what God is doing right now, but I have neglected to spend enough quality time simply sitting in His presence. Now what constitutes as enough, I think that varies for all of us. But when I begin to feel uneasy or ill prepared, I’m forced to take a step back and consider where this feeling is truly coming from.
As I’ve been reflecting on this feeling, I’ve been hit with a harsh reality. This reality being that I need to own it. I need to get open and honest with myself and admit that I am not a victim to these negative feelings. I need to be willing to admit my role in it. These moments of reflection are never easy, but they are the moments where truth floods to the surface.
I went to the beach recently and the water was unsettled. The waves were a good size, and the current was warm. It’s so much fun to dive into those waves and let the water take you, but have you ever tried to simply stand in the water without moving? If you’ve ever tried it, you probably know it’s next to impossible not to move. The water hits you and your body is shaken as you fight to stay afloat. Now imagine these waves are your emotions. How does it feel when you try to resist them? Fight against them? Swim away from them?
As I stood in that water, I realized that I don’t need to resist these waves anymore. No matter how high they crash I must be willing to move with them, to face and embrace them, to have faith that no matter what I will always end up back on the shore.
I keep asking myself, what’s my role in these feelings? Why am I so overwhelmed, and stressed and anxious? Why am I fighting not to drown instead of allowing myself to float? The answer is actually quite simple when I'm willing to take ownership. What have I forgotten to do during this season? I’ve forgotten to make room for the only thing that will always lead me back to shore.
It is so easy to get caught up in the busy season, in the fullness of everyday adventures and opportunities. But how much different does it feel to be caught up in His fullness instead? To spend time embracing the moments of quiet reflection. To set aside intentional time and dive headfirst into His embrace.
A close friend of mine spoke into my life recently about how important it is to be available to God. When we get sucked in to all the business of this world, and become available to too many other people, places, and things we are less available to the one who grounds us. The one who shapes, defines, and guides us. The one who is calling us away from the noise and into His presence. I think it's time to truly recognize and own the fact that the world doesn’t deserve a bigger piece of us. Only God deserves our hearts.
So how has your summer been? Busy? Mine too. But as the season heads in a new direction, we all have a choice to make. We must choose to own the feelings that arise. And take time to reflect on what we are making room for.
What are you allowing in right now?
No matter what this next season has in store I pray that you too can make room in your busy schedule. The world gets too much of our attention already.