Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Must the summer end?

I need more long days where it stays light until ten and it’s warm all day. I need more days where popsicles are the rule and not the exception. I want more days of hanging at the splash park and praying for a gentle breeze from the east as we sit in the grass.

I long for more evenings spent watching baseball games with friends and family and barbeques where we talk for hours. More hikes up Smith Rock and more trail rides out at the Radlands with my kids. More of a lot of things that make our summer what we hope for.

Summer is kind of like every vacation you take where as soon as it’s over you’re already wishing you could have another day, or another week. I suppose the same can be said for nearly any positive experience, but summer is like a 3 month high. Maybe it’s time we extended summer to include parts of May and September, maybe turn the season into four months, or possibly five. Of course, with that philosophy we’ll all be working two days a week and enjoying 5 day weekends before long!

The iconic nature that is summer is found in the hearts and minds of children. It is them who know that each day brings a new chance to play with reckless abandon while having the opportunity to stay up later than usual. That mindset is what makes smiles, and from the moment school lets out my kids are covered in them. Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of what that feels like and poof, I’m a kid again.

As we near another fall and prepare for a new school year I am reminded of the cyclical nature of our lives. The leaves will change, the sweatshirts will be donned, the wind will come and our mindsets will adjust once again. I suppose that it’s good there’s an order because who knows where we would end up if there wasn’t one. But imagine if you could leave the sweatshirt on the shelf for a while longer.

Living in Central Oregon certainly affords us the opportunity to enjoy much more sunshine than our brothers and sisters to the west, but negative eight degrees is still cold, even if the sun is out. Like a “Choose your own adventure” book, I would love the chance to see what a year of summer felt like. A chance to enjoy the warmth that only comes for a couple of months each year.

Maybe it’s time to adjust my mindset to summer and keep it there. I want that feeling of reckless abandon and that perpetual smile that goes along with it and I want it all year long. Like a dog with his head out the window, enjoying the breeze in my face and the sun in my eyes. Indifferent about the destination and focused on the journey; because I know that summer doesn’t end.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Have you ever felt small? You know, insignificant, or next to nothing; worthless almost, but maybe not that bad. The moments in my life where I have felt that way can be counted on one hand, probably using two fingers. Maybe I have been fortunate, who knows, but whatever the case I have never really felt that way until recently.

I am embarking on something new in my life. My family and I are apart of a new church plant and while it is exciting it has also been enormously humbling, especially of late. Initially when I felt the call to be apart of this new plant I believed I would play a large part; have a large role. While at the last church we attended I was very active and so my natural assumption was that I would play an even bigger part in something so small and intimate. It not only made sense but it seemed to be assumed by not only me but others as well.

But that just hasn't been the case.

For the past couple of weeks I have found myself to be resentful. Not of anyone person but of the entire process that I find myself in. I have taken to praying a lot, not just for this new church but even just for me and that I am where God wants me to be for His purpose. I'm being careful with that last sentence because I don't want to play the martyr either; God needs workers, not crybabies. But even as I write that I can't help but feel offended and slightly hurt over what I thought would be this big move for me.

But that's it isn't it? It's not about me. It never was.

Tonight while everyone was eating following our service I was directed to James 1 which I have been studying at home. I had already read chapter 1 but here I was again re-reading the chapter and there was verse three staring at me: "So don't try to get out of anything prematurely." What caught me off guard was how quick I was in thinking that I could simply back into some place of mediocrity since I hadn't gotten my way. But here was this verse saying, don't you dare. Then I thought about it a bit more and what hit me the hardest was Jesus' words telling me that "Whoever wants to be first, must be last". And just like that I remembered what He had put on my heart just a few years earlier and that is to be His servant.

So the wheels spun a little more and it occurred to me that while I have taken a backseat of sorts to this point, there are a few others who would have normally disappeared into anonymity, but are instead being used in a mighty way. This really hit me hard. God most certainly has plans for me but as usual, I am trying to insert my own plans in place, and it's not working out real well.

And so I find myself humbled. And it's a challenge.

 But James says to count my challenges as joy. James was a funny guy.

So while it feels like I'm not really serving, God is using this time to temper me and to teach me about being humble. He is teaching me about my pride and that I do not need it to serve Him. He is teaching me that I need to get out of the way so that He can work in my life.

He is teaching me that I am small. And He is great.

And for that, I am eternally thankful.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.