I love when seasons officially change. I was just thinking the other day how glad I am that months end, weeks end, and days end. I think the Lord, in His wisdom, knew we needed new starts. No matter how dark a period is, it is only a period in our lives. For me, I am always so proud of myself for having made it through the cold seasons. Not as if there were any alternative but to make it through, but I somehow feel like if I can maintain health in my heart when the sky stretches gray for weeks on end, then I am in a good place. Part of what sustains me, and my friends, during winter, is the dreaming of what we’ll do when its warm again. Take bike rides, go one the lake, hike, eat ice cream outdoors without shivering. Most of my winter dreaming, however, hardly stays with me in the summer. I fail to live out what I’ve dreamed, either because I forget or because I get too busy to consider what I wanted when it was cold. I guess that’s a tribute to humanity in general, we forget our dreams and goals so easily. We forget to make the most of each season of life…
If you can relate, I wanted us to pause together and think back to what goals we made when life was in the hubbub of school and routine and busy months…
Did we make the most of each season?
What did rest look like in our mind’s eye? What books did we want to read? What kind of plants did we think of gardening? What adventures were we wanting to take our kids out on? Even on a more trivial scale, what kind of outfit did we see ourselves in? Are we willing to pull out a tanktop again and risk feeling a little bit pale for a few days while our shoulders see the sun again? Did you promise to attempt a few outdoor runs? Walk every morning before sunrise? Make an enormous cake for the fourth of July and decorate it with berries? String happy twinkling lights across our back porch so it looks more festive and invite friends over for more barbecues? What were your goals?
I think I can divide mine into three categories: spiritual goals, physical goals, and soul goals. Each season, in fact, I have some sort of mental list of things I’d like to improve upon or take advantage of, even in the winter. If you want to take advantage of summer, then grab a pen and paper and start making a list of your own goals. Let’s not let this summer slip by with a thousand things we never got around to doing.
Make The Most of Each Season…
Spiritual Goals: Did you dream of waking up early on summer days for some alone time with Jesus? Maybe taking a walk with Him or sitting out on the back porch with a steaming cup of coffee or tea? Did you want to read a devotional book or journal more? Take a few minutes and dream, think about what things would restore your soul. About a month ago, on my first weekend away from my two kids, I wrote out Psalm 23 in the Message in my journal on the front page, and I am using it as the umpire in my life this summer. In terms of what I can control, whatever fits under the things delineated in those verses can stay, whatever doesn’t fit, goes. If you have Psalm 23 memorized in the NIV, take a moment to read this paraphrase. It got my heart racing with excitement and longing.
“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me in quiet pools to drink from. True to Your Word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even though the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when You walk at my side. Your trusty Shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”
Physical Goals: Seriously, did you want to attempt to learn to run outdoors? Enjoy the weather while you workout? Then do it, download the Nike Running app on your phone if you want to see how far you’re going and your pace, and step outside. Just run until you feel fatigued, then walk, and then run again. Even that pattern is wonderful for getting you in shape. The more you do it, the further you’ll be able to go. Anyone who has healthy legs and knees and hips can run. Don’t talk yourself out of it! Or did you want to tone up your arms a little bit? Grab a few light dumbbells at Target or at a sports resale shop, and do some simply bicep curls, tricep extensions, and shoulder presses. Have you been eyeing the pool in your neighborhood, wanting to take a few laps in it? Then line things up with your husband or a friend who can watch your kids for just a little while, maybe 30 minutes at night or during the day, where you can go in and do it. Or were you wanting to eat more veggies? Then go buy a cheap grill pan where you can grill up colorful veggies like zucchini, squash, asparagus, broccoli, corn, eggplant. A little drizzle of olive oil and some S&P, and you’ll feel gourmet. I find I have to stop thinking about it and just do it. Doing something you’ve dreamed about breaks the dream-portion of it and makes it more attainable in reality. So try it.
Soul Goals: These are my dreams about what fun book I wanted to read, or what date I really wanted to go on with my husband, what adventure I thought I’d take my kids on. Did you want to drive to the nearest zoo with the kids and have a day in the sun? Do it. Did you think you’d go explore a part of your city with your husband one night that you never knew existed? Do it! If there is a series of books you wanted to read or a recipe you wanted to try or a journal you wanted to start, do it! Take some time to reflect on what goals you had for your mental and emotional health and growth.
What if we could squeeze every delicious drop out of each season of life? I think setting goals is a helpful way to do it. So when the sun sets on summer, you and I won’t have regrets. We’ll have lived out our dreams for it and been refreshed!
How do you make the most of each season of life?
Copyright © Charis Freije, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved