What comes to mind when we think of summer? Do we think of vacations, fun, ice cream and pool parties? Or do we think of heat, kids being out of school and more of that same excruciating heat?
Growing up, summer was the best part about my life. I was blessed to grow up on a farm in a small county town. Summer to me was waking up early to go pick corn, going to work with my dad, who was a cattle hauler, and lots of swimming in pools and irrigation water. Summer meant catching bullfrogs and having frog cookouts. My brother and I were in charge of selling vegetables in a little stand in front of our house. Summer was full of life and laughter, and work. Finally, when summer would be near the end, my mom would take us to get shoes for the new school year. We would be sad that summer was ending, but excited for what was to come in the next year.
Now that I’m an adult, summer is a lot different. Summer is hot, and the days are long with my kids. When the sun doesn’t go down until well after 8, that makes it hard for littles to want to even think about bed. The day often ends with cries of “But mom, it’s still light outside!”
I got to thinking about those “recharge” moments of my childhood and how much we truly need them in our lives. Not just as kids, but as adults. We need those defining moments where we can sit back and truly appreciate what we have in front of us. Sometimes we get so busy with work, kids, social media and life in general that we forget to take a moment to recharge. Life throws us curveballs, and we often just go with that flow. We get stuck in a rut of the same thing every day and, soon enough, we are just stuck.
What I think we need more of is movement. We need more days where we do unexpected things. A random trip to the beach you’ve never been to, or a vacation you’ve been putting off. I get it, money or other resources can be tight. So create new memories with your loved ones. Learn to cook a new food together, buy a cheap blow-up pool and a dollar store raft and lay out in your backyard, or simply drive a different route to work.
Maybe these ruts go even deeper for you. Maybe you need to forgive more, love harder and really overhaul your outlook on life. These are little things to help you move and keep you from falling in the quicksand of life.
God doesn’t want us to be stagnant in our lives. He asks that we walk boldly in faith and live out the gospel. We have seasons in our lives that can seem to last forever, but just like summer, they don’t stay around for long. They have an end. We learn things during these challenging seasons; it’s where we do a lot of our growing.
Going into a new season of life can be scary and intimidating. You may not know what to expect, but God asks that we be strong and courageous. We will always have great memories from the past, but making new memories and experiencing all that God has for us is the direction that I’d like to go toward.
Adults and parents, try to get out more and search for the good in all the challenges. Turn off your television and social media, start a new project, call up a friend. This is the kind of movement we need in our lives to experience newness and a fresh outlook on life.
I will always miss the days of walking barefoot in the ditches catching crawdads and bullfrogs, but I’m grateful to start new memories that are just as special with my children.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”