As July winds down, summer is almost over. Which breaks my heart. Summer is a special season to me, full of wonderful memories spent at my grandparents’ house when my family came back from Japan for 8 weeks each summer. Summer is when it’s socially acceptable to eat ice cream for many meals. Summer sunsets are very special to me. It’s summer when I feel God closest to me, when I know that no matter what my heart is going through, it’s all going to be okay. And even though the summer isn’t quite over, no matter what this 75 degree Indiana day wants us to believe, I’d love to share about what I’ve learned this summer.
- Busy is not a way to describe how I am. It doesn’t count. It may be true of my schedule, but it’s a cop out. It says that what I fill my calendar with is more important that who I am, which is a lie I’m trying to fight hardcore in my life. Busy has a negative connotation, almost to say that I’m a victim to the things I’ve said yes to. These things I’ve said yes to are good things – I need to quit making myself a victim to them. Working a second job is not something that has happened to me; I’ve made the conscious decision and I truly do love working there, I need to stop complaining and start celebrating. I am not and will not be a victim to this culture of busy. Yes, there are times when I may need to say no, or slow down, but that is not a reflection of who I am, simply of what I choose to do.
- Adoption changes lives. It’s been a busy summer at work, and some evenings I’ve taken work home, or I’ve gotten up early to get to the office to get stuff done. I’m beyond thankful that I have the privilege of working a job that changes the lives of children in need. For older children and children with special needs, when a family chooses to adopt them, their lives are changed. In some cases, adoption means that a child gets to live. I love that I get to work in an industry that actually changes lives.
- Goals are a good thing. I want to get out of debt and pay off my student loans. If you’ve met me in the past year, I’ve probably shared that I have a second job to pay off my loans, or how I can’t wait to be debt free. I’ve tried to put my money where my mouth is and get serious about paying off my student loans. I’m making progress and it’s so empowering! It’s silly, but I love being able to make progress and meet goals on something that I’ve decided is very important to me.
- God wants me to be healthy. This means that I put good food in my body, make sure I’m working out enough and also setting healthy boundaries. It’s easy to want to say yes to everything, or be all things to all people, but God wants me to give the things I’ve committed to the best I can and this requires me to set boundaries. I also cannot fix people, I must draw a healthy boundary to love people well. Boundaries bring freedom. Emotional, financial and physical health bring freedom.
- Those who were part of the early church were brave. I’ve been hanging out in the book of Acts this month and my mind continues to be blown at the ways the followers of Christ responded to God’s commands immediately. Incredible results follow radical obedience. I want to obey quicker, and with bigger faith. As I’ve been reading, I keep asking God to help me develop my “faith muscle”. Like with any muscle, I have got to work at it slowly and surely, even when it’s uncomfortable.
I’ve been reading my way through 2014 and this summer, I have enjoyed numerous books with a glass of wine sitting on my patio, or with my tumbler on the beach (the best place to read). Some of my favorite books of the summer are:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Katherine Boo), Deepening Community (Paul Born), Boundaries (Cloud & Townsend) and my new favorite book – The Ragamuffin Gospel (Brennan Manning). I highly recommend all of these books!
What have you learned this summer?