the danger of summer

photo-1464491965784-a12f0f70642bThere is something special about this season. There’s a pull toward slower days. Vitamin D is a real thing. I know there are two sides to summer. Those of us who work and those of us who don’t. And I can tell you right now, I’ve done both. And even if you’re working in the summer, there’s still something different that happens.

Pace and mindsets shift. Evenings are longer and we’ve invited to linger a little bit. Routines are either pushed out the window totally, or at least stretched. And it’s all so good.

Except for the super subtle shift that happens when our routines change. It can happen any time, really. For any reason. It’s the slow, small drift away from our need for Jesus.

Just like everything else, it starts so small we hardly notice it. We sleep in later than normal, and skip that quiet time. We get a little distracted buying things for vacation, and get a little too comfortable. Before we know it, He slips lower and lower on our list of priorities. And the only way we notice it is because it suddenly comes out of us.

It happens so fast, it’s scary.

We suddenly find ourselves with less joy, less peace, less grace – because we have less of Him. 

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with Me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.” [John 15:5]

Don’t get me wrong – God is all about rest and comfort and play. He’s pushing us to enjoy nights with our family and take vacations to escape normal life for a bit. The danger is when we subconsciously believe the lie that these momentary comforts can replace what He can give us. More importantly, who He is to us.

If you’re finding yourself a little more impatient lately, or more frustrated than you once were: it may be time to ask yourself where you’re allowing your joy to come from. Are you struggling to find that connection with God that you once had? Ask Him to point out in you if there is anything you’ve allowed to replace Him. He’s kind and honest, and there are no hoops to jump to come right back to where He has been waiting the whole time.

It’s less about choosing one or the other, really. He’s in it all. He’s in the beautiful nights and beach days. He’s in everything beautiful and good because He is the source of everything beautiful and good. He isn’t trying to take anything away from you, He’s simply wants to be the center of your life.

And the best part? God’s love and shame cannot coexist. So that twinge of shame you feel for stepping away and allowing that drift? God’s already chosen to forget it. He’s just thrilled to be close with you again.

I know that for some of us, this goes way deeper than getting distracted in the summertime. It’s not always an unintentional shift. Sometimes we walk away and it’s absolutely not an accident. But guess what? His forgiveness and His grace is exactly the same for you.

It takes nothing except repentance and a sincere heart. If you’re feeling distant and not sure how to get back, you can borrow these words.

God, 

I’m sorry for believing the lie that other things will satisfy me other than you. Honestly, sometimes they do for a little while. But I know the only good thing in me is You. Forgive me for choosing anything other than You. I choose to believe today that you love me. That you see past my mistakes and you want to fill all the places that I lack. Search me and know me all the way. I want to give my life to you and let you invade all of it. The good and the bad. I’ve seen who I am without you, and I know it’s not who I want to be. Keep me tethered to you. I give you my life. 

Amen. [so be it]

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