4 Questions To Help You Say Goodbye to Summer
As summer is now officially over, I’m reflecting on everything that’s been crammed into the past ten weeks.
I’ve been to a summer camp and a mission trip for our Students Ministry. I’ve helped with our Summer Jam experience for elementary kids and had a family vacation. My kids went to the office with me some days; other days, they stayed with a sitter or went to my parent’s house. As a family, Matt and I let the kids stay up late to watch movies and play board games, and we also broke up more kid-fights than I can count. There were moments we wished would last forever… and times we just wanted school to start.
I’ve been to a memorial service where friends grieved the loss of their child while celebrating their short life. I’ve sat with people during sickness, and uncertainty, and divorce, and joy, and loss, and death.
With every “up” came a “down” and honestly, I just kind of moved on. There was always a next thing to go to.
If you’re like me, your summer was also a whirlwind of busyness. The lack of schedule both created new rhythms and stole the comfort of routine and predictability.
I feel like I’ve crossed the summer finish line only to find the back-to-school race waiting for me. And if I’m not careful, I will miss the opportunity to process all the highs and lows of the summer.
I’d like to invite you to reflect on your summer, too. One silent car ride, one early morning walk, or just a few minutes of quiet to think back on the last few months.
What do YOU need to grieve, celebrate, and give thanks for? Take time to think through the following 4 questions:
1. What went wrong this summer?
What left you disappointed or tired? What did you hope for that never came? It’s ok to name it, to bring it to God and tell him how you feel. He’s big enough; he can handle it. God is our perfect Father and there is no use hiding our regret from him. In fact, we gain intimacy when we share our loss and frustration with him and then we see him respond with comfort.
2. What went well this summer?
Don’t brush past it. Remember it. Savor it. Celebrate it! Write it down somewhere. When God gifts you with a great vacation or family time or rest, celebrate that!
3. What are you grateful for?
Think back on how has God blessed you…what would you like to tell him “thank you” for? Gratitude helps us reflect on both the good and hard things in life. So often, joy is mixed with sorrow, and gratitude is what helps us process the span of life with all of its complexity. Regardless of whether this was the best or worst summer of your life, there is something there to be thankful for. Don’t move past it.
4. Lastly, who can you share the answers to these questions with?
Find someone and invite them to reflect on their summer with you. Share your take-aways from your summers. Then take a moment to pause together, take a deep breath, and enter your Texas “fall” with a heart of mindfulness and gratitude.