This summer has been equal parts crazy, amazing, and wonderful. So much has happened in three way-to-short months. It’s insane that August is already coming to an end. I don’t know if I’m ready for the sun to set sooner but I’m definitely looking forward to hockey season. Below are the most significant slices of wisdom I’ve in received in less than 100 days. Perhaps you can relate to and/or learn from my summer endeavors.
As a strong, bold, confident woman, initiative has never really been a problem for me. Sure, when I was younger I was skittish and hung up on insecurities however, I always wanted to ‘go for it’ I just didn’t. Not everyone has that in them the ‘want to make it happen’ mentality thankfully though anyone can develop it. Now that I’m older I’m still hesitant at times and full of insecurities. However, I’ve also grown into my strengths, so I continually choose to let my strong points run the show. So much of life is purely mental (Romans 12:1-2)
I love this summer, it may just be the best summer I’ve ever had but back before the weather started warming up things did not look good for me never mind being ‘the best ever’. Everything happens for a reason and lasts only for a season. Before summer started it was clear as crystal that my life seasons were changing-how ironic that the actual seasons were altering too-sorry, writer moment, couldn’t skip the irony. This is where the need for initiative came into play. Change was inevitable for me (change is always inevitable) we cannot stop it. Our only part to play is reaction. How are we going to handle it, kicking and screaming or letting the dice roll?
I saw that the things I was used to would not remain the same so I decided to move on as well. I was then faced with the internal conflict of; now what? (Another writing reference, I know) I had poured so much of myself out for the past few years I was a little torn on weather or not I’d be able to find better opportunities to love and serve. In spite of my doubt, I chose to go with the flow of the current. I wasn’t sure where to go and I didn’t know what was next but I was certain my best days were not behind me.
I chose initiative. I got involved with all these things that I either knew I liked or wanted to try. I had to fill my life up with good again because voids left untreated will fester like an exposed wound. I started volunteering because I love working with addicts and I made sure to get involved with bible studies because I love God and if I’m not growing in my faith why bother believing? At first, I was alone, no one was doing any of these things with me, I wouldn’t say that sincere connections came about on day one but you know what? Due to the initiative I dared to take, everything built up into a brand new season, and a few months later I write with such joy. I am so glad I dared to chase the things I love, regardless of who was by my side.
2) Let go
This I learned concretely in summer 2K15 and it is something I will hold onto for life. I even have it tattooed on me. Let go-of that person, that embarrassment, that shame, that job you thought was the best you’ll ever get, that list of cons playing on repeat in your head-let go. Do it because if you don’t let go how is it possible to ever really move forward? You can’t. I’ve tried. Life is like monkey bars, in order to get to the next rung you have to let go of the one currently being clung to, otherwise you’ll stay scared, dangling, and eventually exhaust yourself, all the while never really getting anywhere. Don’t dangle be a daredevil.
Whatever you’re struggling to let go of that seems to be sticking to you like glue just know you will get through it if you keep trying. Avoiding doesn’t work neither does burying. All that seems to truly work for me when it comes to letting go is prayer. Christ has to take my burdens because I’m not strong enough to carry them. The craziest part is we’re not even meant too. Jesus is there to help us with whatever hinders (Matthew 11:28) you think He was nailed to a tree so we could live a life of pain and struggle? No, God chose to lay his life down so we would have all that He desires for us; love (agape) peace, patience, goodness, self-control and so much more.
If prayer offends you or you doubt God or you resent Him, you are free to keep running. God is a gentleman, He will not stalk you but you can be certain that when you finally do yourself a favor and seek Him first you will be met with open arms.
3) Say yes instead of no
This one was key for me right after taking initiative. Things would’ve gone nowhere if after finding all these great opportunities I then shot down every offer. It’s easy to say no it takes effort to say yes, but if I wanted to get better, if I wanted to improve, if I wanted to really see what life and God and my future had to offer, I had to say yes. So I made my third conscious choice of the summer, I seized just about every opportunity that I normally would’ve denied because it was uncomfortable, unfamiliar, out of my comfort zone or all of the above.
I said yes to the young adult church opportunities because I think it’s important to grow in God alongside likeminded people, in the past I would’ve strayed away because being alone in a crowded room seemed terrifying. I said yes to volunteer once a week even though it meant being apart of activities I’d never pick. I showed up at events where I knew almost no one, which normally would’ve made me shrivel up in fear. The saying is true; if you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.
Thank God for ‘yes’ because if I never made myself say it, I would not have met dozens of incredible people these past few months. I’ve gained so many life skills, and it turns out I really love hockey.
4) Love like crazy
“Be a best friend, tell the truth, over use ‘I love you’; never let your praying knees get lazy and love like crazy.”-Lee Brice
Love. That is what life is about. That’s it, nothing else. Love God, love people. I love to love and loving God helps me remember to love myself and it makes so much easier to love people. The summer of 2K15 introduced a whole new level of love. Had I not learned #’s 1-3 I would not have been able to do #4. It started with initiative whether I wanted to take it or not, then saying yes instead of no whether I felt like it or not. Most importantly, for me, was that I desperately had to let go. I had to relinquish everything about the past seasons otherwise I wasn’t going to be able to embrace the current one.
Don’t forget to love yourself first. As far as how to accomplish this, my best and only advice is to know in the marrow of your bones that The Lord loves you. He made you (John 3:16) you are perfect in His sight (Psalm 139:14) God loves you (Romans 5:8). Cement that in your soul and all will be well.
There are so many people in this world to love. Personally I’d like to love everyone I come into contact with. In a godly way of course, not like a family way, or a salacious way, agape love for others is where I strive to be. This summer has blessed me with so many more souls to love and a bonus is that I’ve even gotten some love in return. Life on earth just isn’t long enough to embrace everyone so I’d like to use all the moments I can to love the ones I’m with.
5) Choose peace (no matter what)
Rest because it is necessary physically, mentally, and spiritually. Life moves fast and sometimes we need a break. Feeling burnt out is completely avoidable if we’re conscious of our limits. As much as I love to have things going on this summer has taught me that resting is just as valuable as productivity. There’s no shame in taking a day off. Everybody needs a little “il dolce faire niente” (Italian for the sweetness of doing nothing. Thanks Eat Pray Love!) Schedule your ‘sweet nothing’ in if you must. Just make sure you give yourself a day or two to refresh, restore, and strengthen.
Nothing, not one single thing, is worth losing your peace over. Every second is another opportunity to get anxious, mad, sad, or frustrated, don’t allow it. Keep your heart right. You have peace even when it is the furthest thing from what you feel. Christ calmed a storm just by speaking (Mark 4:39). We have that same authority because of Him. This summer has taught me to use it like I mean it because life is just too dang short to not be peaceful. John 14:27 is an awesome verse to memorize.
In the middle of volunteering and writing my second book while I publish my first novel, I had the privilege of growing into a better me. I learned the power of initiative; things really do happen if you dare to take action. Also, I learned (many times over) to let go. It is very freeing to live under the Frozen ballad “Let it Go.” Saying yes instead of no goes a long way and seizing good opportunities is something your future self will be ridiculously thankful for. Love like it’s your last day on earth. Treat people the way Jesus would, or if that’s too much, embrace people the way dogs do. If we’re not caring about people, what’s the point of anything? Rest when you know you should. Self-care is not selfish it’s how we keep going. Lastly, nothing is worth your peace, fight to keep it.
Those are 5 key things this summer has taught me. What about you? What have you learned amid the beach days, bonfires, and brighter mornings? I’d love to know! Comment below.
3 thoughts on “5 Things I learned in the summer of 2015”
Thank you Jena for sharing your God given talent…. You’ll move mountains kid 😉