A Florida Summer

Summer. There’s nothing like it.  And if you haven’t experienced summer in Florida, you haven’t truly experienced summer: the humidity, the scalding hot car seats, the afternoon thunderstorms that resemble mini hurricanes, the flocks of tourists with their fanny packs and floppy hats and the crowded interstates where in any one mile stretch you can see car tags from 15 different states. If you have experienced the Sunshine State in its full mid-July glory, you know all of these to be true.  

If you’re actually a resident Floridian, you can add several additional things to that list.  For example, you know that weather reports during the summer are entirely useless for planning your day (except when you’re on hurricane watch), but at the same time, you also know, even the gloomiest of clouds and nastiest of storms will only last approximately 23.5 minutes, if that. You know that if the humidity is less than 85%, it’s going to be a great (well, great for summer-in-Florida) hair day.  You know that while summer may bring an intense heat and wave of visitors from all around this land - and abroad -  it also brings the bountiful harvest of our summer gardens. The sweetest of watermelons, the okra, the squash, the homemade ice cream with fresh peaches - pure deliciousness!  It’s also pretty convenient that nature blessed us with countless spots to help squelch the intense heat (i.e. the beautiful springs, and a beach that’s never more than 60 miles away - as a crow flies, of course).

Despite all these typical summerisms, occasionally, Florida will surprise you - thus further proving her unpredictability.  I’m currently enjoying my evening coffee on a porch swing somewhere in the middle of nowhere...there’s a breeze coming in from the south, it’s a mild 82 degrees and the humidity is hovering right at 79 percent.  Oh, happy, cloudy day! In the midst of that breeze, there’s a slight twinge of cool - making my heart happy with the promise of “fall is coming soon.”  

Even though I adore summer and all of its beauty, it’s no secret that fall is my absolute favorite (with the exception of Christmas).  Yesterday, I about did a flip when I saw that Bath and Body Works released their fall scented candles.  Then, I see that Paula Deen’s fall magazine filled with all of its pumpkin and pecan goodness arrived in the mail. Swoon!

Then in the midst of my rejoicing over the traces of fall that seem to appear - something hit me.  Why is it that we are always rushing the next season? It never fails.  Before 4th of July is behind us, pumpkin and scarecrows adorn store shelves. We can’t even get through August before Christmas ornaments and trees take their place.  It’s a rat-race whirlwind of moving on to the next thing before we can even enjoy or “get through with” the present.

While this is certainly true of the calendar season, how true is it also for our personal lives and all the seasons that they bring? If we are in school, we are waiting to graduate.  If we are in college, we are waiting to get a job.  If we are working, we are trying to decide if our career is the right one. If we are single, we waiting to be married.  If we are married, we are waiting until we have kids...and so on and so forth.  There’s almost a sense of, “if I can only get through this season” when I sometimes wish there was more of a sense of, “what lessons can I learn during this season to prepare me for the next?”  

Recently, as a twenty-something single, I found myself in a restless season of what just felt like I was waiting. On something. On anything.  I spent a lot of time in prayer and felt God's perfect peace and reassurance - He showed me that this season is precious. It may not be filled with what I had hoped or thought it would be, but I shouldn’t be focused on what this season is missing. Instead, I should be enjoying what all this season has to offer.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still filled with hope and faith that the next season will bring with it wonderful blessings, but at the same time, I’m trying to be more intentional about enjoying the blessings (even if they’re in disguise) of the present. For me, I’m spending this precious time trying to make a positive difference in the lives of others while preparing to be the best version of myself I can be. I’d encourage you to do the same! Make an effort to meet the needs of someone around you - whether that means smiling at a stranger or taking a trip to volunteer at an orphanage.  Try out a new hobby, commit to getting in shape, make an effort to learn something new - but most importantly, use this time to draw closer to the Lord!  

When we seek to honor Him with our whole hearts, regardless of what season we’re in or what season we’re moving into, He is walking with us, and will guide every step of our journey.  And remember, He wants more for you than you want for yourself. His plans are better than our plans - His ways are better than our ways. So even if this isn’t your “favorite” season - know that it serves a purpose.  There’s a season for everything.

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted…” - Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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