|Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash|
Ok, we can all acknowledge that it's been a really hard year all around.
I'm a summer person. I read summer novels all year long. I go to the beach as often as I can. I have an ocean background on my desktop. I love the sun, swimming, ice cream, and just about everything summer.
But this summer has been different. At first, it kind of snuck up on me, due to the time-warp feel that the spring had. (I didn't even have shorts yet for the kids!) But, as we continued into it, our normal activities didn't happen. The usual town events like the Memorial Day celebration, the fireworks display, the opening of the waterpark...the markers we usually look to for summer to begin.
We haven't been on any trips yet, due to fears over Covid. The family and friends who usually visit all had to cancel. So we are left with plenty of sun, but not too much "summer."
It's easy in all this to start to let the negative in. Sure, I'm still wearing flip flops, and I have a tan, but it's hard to believe this is the summer we are going to remember in our Christmas card letters.
Last year, I had a big milestone birthday, and it got me thinking even more about my Bucket List and all of the places that I'd like to go and things I'd like to accomplish before I pass on to Heaven.
I was excited to get started right away, thinking of each summer as an opportunity to check off another item from my list. Concerts, travel, writing...
Sadly, the pandemic has stopped a lot of my Bucket List items in their tracks. Even my goal of developing deeper friendships hit a snag, because it's hard to hang out when everything's closed. (I did get to finally see Hamilton, though, thank you Disney+!!)
Ok, now I know what you are probably thinking... can we just stay in bed for the next 5-12 months or so? I feel ya!
Since my usual optimistic self has begun to toy around with the negative, I've tried to change my prayers to match. God and I have been through a lot together this spring, but He hasn't left my side. So, right now I'm asking Him for a new way of thinking. I'm asking Him to change my attitude from wanting to fast-forward through the next year to wanting to walk through it, step by step, with Him. Because, if I fast-forwarded through it, I'd miss so much.
I know I'd miss all of the ministry that God will do this year. All of the opportunities to share His love and reach those who need His comfort and care. I'd miss the chance to lead teens toward Christ and away from anxiety and depression.
Just because life seems to be on pause, God has not stopped working. Therefore, I need to change my thinking.
Ephesians 4:23 says to "be made new in the attitude of your minds."
Our mind can shift and change with practice. We can shift away from the negative and towards the positive that only He can bring.
We can choose to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable instead of the doom and gloom on the news. (Philippians 4:8)
The song, "Because He Lives," encourages us to keep up the hard work of faith:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives
Although I might not cross off a whole lot of items from my Bucket List this year, I can live assured that I know the One who holds my future. Maybe there are things that God will do this year that haven't even occurred to me yet.
I'm sure there will be! And I want to stick around with Him to find out.
Let's remember to keep on keeping on, because life is worth the living, just because He lives...