I can’t believe summer is already coming to a close! I head back to Biola this weekend, and before I hop into a new semester I wanted to snatch a couple of moments to reflect on what God’s been teaching me this summer. I hope these little lessons encourage you as they encouraged me, and feel free to comment below what God has shown you this summer!
- Dwell. I love to always have a plan in place and be in charge of situations. It’s super hard for me to just sit still and be fully present somewhere without having an idea of when I’ll leave or what I’ll say or how I’ll act. But this summer, God has reminded me how much he values relationships. He values my relationship with him, and he also values my relationships with the people he’s placed around me. When I can’t just sit still and be present, it pushes people away and makes it tricky for me to hear God’s voice because I’m so preoccupied with listening to my own. I think the root of this issue is a struggle for control. I love to be in control of situations, and allowing myself to be present without stressing over details is rough because it means that I’m not in control. But that’s kinda the point—I’m not supposed to be in control. God is. So this summer, God’s been teaching me the value and beauty of letting myself be fully present with him and with people, not worrying about a thing other than focusing on whoever God has placed in front of me. Aaand it’s a pretty fantastic, freeing experience! So this next season, whether you’re in school or work or whatever you’re up to, will you join me in looking for moments to dwell and enjoy God’s good gifts without trying to control them?
- Be on the lookout for simple beauty nearby. This summer when I got back home from school, my Mom told me about these beautiful California poppies that were blooming up in Oak Glen (about 15 minutes from my house). LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE. WOW JUST WOW. Isn’t it crazy that so much beauty was so close to me, but I wouldn’t have found it unless I had heard about it (thanks, Mom!) and gone out to find it? This semester, there will be a lot of classes, homework, deadlines, people, and activities to manage. And it’s already easy for me to feel overwhelmed and frustrated just thinking about it (yikes)! But I know that God will bring beautiful things into my life, because he is in my life and he himself is Beauty. So let’s look for beauty in the small moments, like an extra 30 mins of sleep or a sweet conversation with a friend. Let’s remember that those little things reflect the care and attentiveness of our Heavenly Father. As we soak in his beauty, we’ll start to imitate and reflect that beauty ourselves in the way we interact with those around us. We can make others feel beautiful and loved by reflecting the beauty and love that God has poured out on us. So it’s a win-win ;).
- God is trustworthy (seriously). I’ve always known that God is trustworthy, but there’s a world of difference between knowing something in your brain and actually experiencing it, ya know? God has shown me his trustworthiness through my work situations recently. I headed into this summer expecting to work at a specific place, and instead I worked at a couple of old jobs I’ve had in the past. At first I was pretty disappointed, as these jobs didn’t feel very new or exciting. However, these work experiences became exactly what I needed. For one of the jobs, I got to act in the last stage production that my boss was directing. It was such a special time, and I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity. For the other job, the flexible hours and my gracious boss made it a joy instead of a stress, and because the hours were so perfect I had extra time to spend with the people I care about before heading back to school. Looking at next semester, I got a little worried when the job I had planned to work fell through. However, God brought along an even better (and less stressful) opportunity to work on campus that fits perfectly with my schedule and will provide beneficial connections in my department. How amazing is that?! It’s mind-blowing to realize that the God of the entire universe intentionally knows and takes care of the little details of our lives (see Psalm 139). When I see how much he cares about the day-to-day moments of my own life, I’m encouraged to intentionally remember the details in the lives of those around me. Sometimes the littlest things (like remembering a friend’s birthday or a family member’s important test) can mean the most to people, because it shows that you truly care about them. As we genuinely care for people, it builds trust because people see that we value them. We grow in trustworthiness while strengthening relationships and reflecting the character of our King. So as we jump into this next season, let’s thank our God for the opportunities he brings to intentionally care about the people around us, because it reminds us and them of how Jesus intentionally cares for us.
Thinking about these three lessons God’s been revealing to me over the summer, 1 John 4:19 pops up into my mind and heart. Its simple words: “We love because he first loved us” resonate so deeply with me because they remind me of the example set for us by our Savior. We were not called to live life all alone; Jesus walks beside us and has shown us how to live. We can fix our eyes on him, follow his example, and reflect his love to those around us through dwelling with people and building Christ-centered relationships, noticing and proclaiming God’s beauty in the everyday rhythms of life as we begin to reflect it ourselves, and practicing being caring and trustworthy family members and friends.
Summer 2018, I miss ya already but am so excited to see what God has in store for this coming season.