Ending the Spiritual Vacation – Real Voices for August 2012

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Ending the Spiritual Vacation by Chris Stump

Summer is coming to an end, and saying goodbye to the no-school days, vacation, and extended daylight hours can incite discouragement, anxiety, or melancholy. Remember the days leading up to going back to school? Did you well up with dread as the clock ticked down to the moment you had to grab your packed lunch and wait for the school bus? I know I did. The approaching homework, cooler weather and longer nights caused me to drag my heels.

We all seem to want to hold on to the escape of summer instead of facing the learning and growing that life brings. When we are enjoying a comfortable and easy life spiritually, a dark and challenging time can have us experiencing those old back-to-school feelings. But, that attitude can set us up for failure, and we can miss out on the positive and strengthening possibilities of the next season.

When I have those summer seasons in my walk—I’m resting in the Lord, being blessed abundantly—I don’t want that to end. Growing and maturing isn’t the main focus, but just basking in the Lord’s goodness and living happily. Then a snag hits, or a trigger gets pressed, and I see those fall clouds coming in. Resisting or denying the challenges doesn’t make the reality of them go away.  Instead of trying to “vacate” my life I can face them courageously.  With the grace that God provides I can develop new life skills that enable me to develop and grow beyond my current state.

Life is a journey not meant for stagnation. Those seasons of learning and challenges are really for our benefit. In the past 8 years I’ve been a student, learning about my own brokenness and triggers. I’ve grown, matured, and gained the spiritual knowledge to live more freely from sin. There have been times, in the midst of arduous testing, I have grown fatigued of living life diligently and have reverted back to a lazy “summer” mentality. Needless to say, that left me vulnerable and jeopardized the work God wanted to do in me.

If we want to gain more freedom in our lives, grow closer to the Lord, and be who we were created to be, we must always be eager pupils. Honestly, why wouldn’t you be eager to become a better created you? As we all know learning can be difficult and not always enjoyable. But when we do grow we see the fruits of our labor and the blessing of the Lord. He never gives us more than we can handle. And when He calls us into a season of growth, it’s for our benefit and will leave us freer and more whole on the other side.

So as we prepare to leave the summer behind, let’s rethink our spiritual lives and become eager pupils—willing to give up the summer because of the great opportunities to mature and grow. Summer will come around again, but think of how much sweeter our next summer will be if we relinquish this one and pursue the challenges, willfully learn, and take a risk to grow with the Lord as our teacher now. As eager learners, we’ll become mature disciples. That’s worth saying goodbye to the summer, thankful for the relaxation it brought, but expectant and excited for all that’s left to learn.

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