Summer is just around the corner. It brings with it the smell of saltwater, or chlorine, the sound of flip-flops hitting the floor, and the taste of your summer favorites like an ice-cold popsicle or a slice of ripe watermelon. To be honest, summer usually sneaks up on me as a busy school year comes to an end. And just as quickly as it comes, it’s over in the blink of an eye.
So, to preserve the summer and try to make the most of it, I’ve been creating a list of things I MUST do before the leaves start to turn and fall arrives. What’s on my list? Pool parties? Camping? A cruise? Amusement park? After reviewing my list, I began to feel unsettled.
The truth is I’d rather spend time on our patio or in my garden than go for a swim at a crowded pool where a thin layer of sunscreen is likely floating on the surface. I’d choose a walk on the beach at sunrise over a pricey cruise. And rollercoasters at an amusement park? I’d pick a seat on the sofa next to my hubby that doesn’t require a seatbelt.
The problem with my list? I’d fallen into the trap of thinking I need to be like everyone else. My list became more about the things I see everyone else doing than about the things that make me happy. Sure, I know some of you may choose the second option too, but in the moment it feels like everyone else is more fun and exciting than me.
Rather than continuing to create a list that’s more fitting for someone else, I had to give myself permission to be exactly who God made me to be.
Sure, the items on my list seem like small choices, but if I don’t honor who God made me to be in the little things, then how will I respond to the bigger ones? In my friendships. With my husband. With my son. At work. How I spend my money. Where I serve.
It’s easy for us to wrestle with ourselves trying so hard to be something or someone else. We try to fulfill an endless list of qualities and capabilities that we think will make us feel better, loved, or happy. It’s exhausting and before I know it, I’m like a beach ball being tossed about in the crowded pool…ultimately being hit over the fence and landing far away from the once still water.
It was a gift to look back at my list and admit that it wasn’t MY list, despite how much I wanted it to be. I’m empathetic and persistent, a hugger and I definitely have type A personality. I like stories and good food and need quiet time to recharge. After all, I am exactly who He created me to be.
I was reminded of this simple yet powerful verse in Job 37:5-6:
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
Essentially, God tells the snow to do it’s job…simply fall to the earth. He wants the rain to not just fall, but to be a mighty downpour. He wants the same from us — to be exactly what He made us to be. To do mighty things with the qualities He gave us.
So I leave you with this: What is God asking you do to? What is the thing God created you to be?
When you tap into His plan for your life you will find peace and comfort.
So, on this sunny afternoon as I write this, I’m at one of my favorite spots – our living room. I’m snuggled next to my husband. I have my laptop and sitting beside me is an ice-cold sparkling water (I gave up soda so it’s just water these days). The guys are laughing out loud as they watch one of their favorite TV shows. And, me, well I’m perfectly happy, because this is definitely better than a rollercoaster.