If you have been on the internet in the last 3 months, chances are high that you were inundated with ways to make this summer the best yet. You know what I’m talking about, “Summer Bucket List Must-dos”, “5 Ways to have a Stress-free Summer”, “8 New Ways to Beat the Heat”. As summer days come to a close and we replace SPF with schedules and swap pool bags for backpacks – I think about the lessons learned outside of the classroom this summer. And so, if you can palate it, here’s one more list for you: 3 Lessons Learned From a Hard Summer.
Someone I don’t know that well but who I really admire, asked me how my summer was going. I told her honestly, “It’s been a hard summer...” and then burst into tears. (Feel free to read my other list “How to not make friends:101”). As I get older, I value transparency so much more than I used to. It’s OK to not be OK – God is made bigger and more powerful when we admit our weaknesses to others and ourselves. The trick is not to stay stuck.
Have you ever been sitting in a church service, thinking, “This is so good for other people to hear today.” And then you hear or sing something and you realize, “Oh right, it’s me; I needed this.” That’s how I felt when Josh spoke on Psalm 13 during our Summer in the Psalms. The first four verses of Psalm 13 are raw, David is crying out to God, “How long are you going to forget about me? How long will you hide from me?” He’s wallowing, a comfortable place for many of us, but then He looks up, takes his eyes off of his circumstances and in verse 5 turns it around, “But I will trust in your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in your salvation.” It’s in the worship, not the wallowing where we can make progress and keep moving forward.
Based on my experience so far, God’s plans look very little like our own, and even less like society’s. While I would love to give a great big southern, “Hallelujah” to that – the truth is, I can’t. I would love some predictability, the “normal” 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. Luckily, our small group has been working through Forgotten God by Francis Chan, about living our lives with and through the Holy Spirit. It has been challenging and a much needed change of perspective. If we truly believe that the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, is the spirit inside of us – how can our lives not be changed?!
So whether you had the best summer ever, or one that was less than ideal – our God, and His word – do not change. Now can I get a Hallelujah?!?