Tuesday, August 2, 2011
“I have come that they may have life...”
“and have it to the full” (John 10:10b).
I love summer! And August is my favorite summer month: lazy, loosy, unscheduled days; blue skies scattered with slow-drifting fluff-clouds; neighborhood streets bursting with sun-dabbed shades of green; sweet, drippy peaches and ripe, red tomatoes from road side stands; impromptu road trips to far off places or family ventures close to home; and of course, sandy, salty, ocean days languished away at the shore. Life and newness are everywhere! Even the super-heated air is heavy laden with energy and potential.
Summer is a time rich with experience. After the treadmill of May drops us with a thud, summer moves in slowly, like a soft, soothing rain. It seeps peace into the pores of my parched and weary heart. Summer is about being. Every morning begins a day pregnant with possibility.
Apparently, I’ve got a seasonal disorder of sorts! There is no doubt; my state of mind is influenced by the calendar page. And I need to get a grip on why. Why am I happier and appreciating life more in the summer than other times of the year? Certainly, there has to be more to it than scenery, produce, family time, vacations, and a lack of demands upon my schedule. Doesn’t it? Is my sense of well-being really that fragile?
I’ve come to the conclusion that it has to do with choices – my perception of my freedom to choose. When time is plentiful (as in the summer) I can choose how I spend it: shall I read this book, or that book? Should we go to the pool, or play this game? Which room ought I to clean first? Should I pack now or cook dinner? I am aware that time is a glorious gift from God’s abundant hand and I slowly savor every moment. During certain other months though (e.g. May), time sweeps me along like a maniac river. The schedule is my master, not the other way around. Demands pile up. Minutes are devoured like PacMen. I am a lifeless player in a script someone else wrote. Of course, I know this isn’t true. Traced back, every action is rooted in a choice I made earlier: “yes, I’ll bake the cupcakes”, “sure, I’ll volunteer to take up the collection”, “I’d be happy to chaperone”, “Of course, kids, you can sign up for _____ (scouts, piano, soccer, whatever).” But it’s so easy to forget this at the time, isn’t it?
Right now, I’m making a decision. Here it is: I will live each day of the year like it is summer. I will relish the moments, see beauty in God’s creation, laugh more with my kids, really listen, and be emotionally available at all times. In January, I will be feeling August. How? Because I just realized something: I am always free to choose. Maybe not so much WHAT I do, but always HOW I do it. How I think, feel, speak, see, perceive, and behave are choices I make, regardless of the date. When I surrendered to Jesus, he set me free (John 8:32). Now, I am free of guilt from yesterday’s poor choices, the power of sin today, and worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:25 - 34), because I know God’s in control and I am His. I am free to live in the moment and place the rest into my Father’s mighty hands.
As I abide in God’s word and connect with Him in prayer, I believe He will show me summer all year long. He will make me aware of each day’s specialness and the bounty of His provision. I will luxuriate in the texture of life because I am free - even when the skies are gray, the branches are bare, the produce is canned, and the only road trip in sight is to/from the soccer field! In my inner world, where Christ resides and life is a choice, summer blooms on. August is forever.