I feel like I blinked between my return from San Francisco that I wrote about a little less than a month ago and now, and all of a sudden July turned to August and summer is almost over. Let’s catch up over a cup of coffee (warm coffee on a dreary day for me, please) because I’m ready to reflect on what I’ve learned in this season. It won’t look like my last coffee date, because I really want to just focus on one thing. It’ll be more of a coffee talk, where I talk to you about something really important I’ve been learning- and then I’ll want to hear about what you’ve been learning, too.
Oh, and I’m so excited to join the lovely Amber on her monthly coffee date link up. Her words are always beautiful.
When I look back on the last few months, I feel so overly thankful. This summer has been really everything I needed it to be. And so much change has happened in my heart that maybe has come out of nowhere. Or maybe it was God working in me, even when I wasn’t trying. Even when I was just truly resting. Even when it felt like I was taking a two-month-long sabbath most of the time. I didn’t have to do a think- but He worked and He changed a lot of things over here.
There are six days left in my teacher summer. Six. Six days left to breathe deep and rest. Six days left to get ready for a better year. Six days left to prepare myself- to hope that I can do this year without stress and anxiety and panic. To hope I can breathe the same way I have been this summer- to hope I can make life about being present, being positive, being love, even when it gets busy.
Six days left to figure out what I’m going to do with the little monster I call Hemy when we’re away all day.
I’m truly excited. I keep saying out loud “I am SO excited to get back to school- in a week, I get to go back and be a teacher again!”
I’m saying it out loud because I’m trying to use the power of positive thinking. But I’m also saying it out loud because it is actually true.
But for now, I am savoring these last few sips of rest. I’m holding on to the slow moments that are left.
If summer taught me anything, it is that I don’t have to work for change. I have to pray for it.
At the beginning of summer and the end of the school year, I was frantic and panicked. I felt beat down by my year of teaching. I didn’t know where God wanted me- or why he let me follow this career path that keeps me anxious for months on end.
And then, without doing much of anything other than praying- I’ve realized (or God has revealed to me) that it isn’t about the career itself. Teaching is hard- absolutely. It is overwhelming and all-consuming. But it was especially those things for me, because of me. Because I was making it into that. I was letting it consume me and define me. I was worried about impressing others. I was worried about being perfect at my job in my first full year (hah!).
I was anxious and panicked and stressed- always- because I let myself be that way. It wasn’t the job’s fault- it was the what I was letting it do to me.
This summer, I’ve learned that panicked and frantic and anxious and stressed are not words that I can let describe myself. They are words we glorify, for some strange reason, in our American working culture. Because if you feel those ways, you’re working hard, right?
But I’m done with those words. I’m done with perfect. I’m setting my eyes and mind and heart on some different words.
Love. Present. Adventure. Invest. Rest.
(Summer things I loved– from top to bottom: Outer Banks with my love, Virginia sunsets with my family, A great Pirates game and time in the city I love with my husband and family, Virginia wine with Kim, Outer Banks with Dad, Philly conference for work with Amber, Seeing a best friend from college for the first time since my wedding, All my brother in laws in Virginia, Seeing a best friend at a concert with my husband and other SRU friends, Reading on the beach.
Things not pictured: Outer banks Crossfit workouts with my brother and Nick, Endless family time, Lots of Hemy time, starting a new part time job, Seeing my best friend from home and coffee dates (Natalie), drinks and lunch with friends from work, and the list goes on.)
Love. Present. Adventure. Invest. Rest.
This summer was full of these words. I adventured to new cities I’d never been to and ones that I have been to and love with the people that make me happy. I spent time with the people I love and the ones that love me best. I invested my time into some new projects and into preparing for the school year. I invested in people, too. I felt present through it all- like I wasn’t just passing through- but that I was actually in these places with these people. And I rested.
The best weeks of my summer involved all of these things together- my vacation with family and my trip to San Francisco for some work training.
I know summer is an exception- and I know my situation is unique because I get to have these months off as a teacher. I know that the everyday mundane of working a 9-5 style job feels much different than a couple summer months off.
But I’m believing that these words can come with me to everyday life. I’m believing that these are the word that God wants my life to be about, no matter what life looks like at the moment.
I am so much happier than I was at the beginning of this summer. I am so much more present in my own daily life. And I believe God wants this joy that I have now for my everyday life, not just for my time off. This level of presence within my work and my personal life is what I feel made for.
I believe he wants it for all of us, really. Maybe your words look a little different than mine. But summer is a time when most of us slow down and spend time with people we love a little bit more often. It is a time for travel and adventure for many of us, too. What if you could take that slow, more present self into every day life? Do you think it’s possible? I do- and I even think we’re meant to live that way.
I know I’m prone to anxiety and stress and perfectionism. But I want to be done with it. I know it will take work. But I’m committed to living life like it’s sacred rather than rushing through it. And I’m thankful God used this summer to teach me how I’ve been panicking my life away, and how it needs to change. I’m thankful He’s changed my heart and is continuing to work in it, too, because I know this is totally not something I can do on my own.
So what did you learn this season? What words can describe what your summer was about? Grab a cup of coffee and talk to me about it!