Are You in a Summer Season of Your Soul?
By Elizabeth Enlow
Excerpt from "God in Every Season"
Available on Amazon November 11, 2017
Summer — Unique Fears, Lies, and Temptations
With each new season, comes the unique, yet familiar fears, lies, and temptations that our souls are especially susceptible to during that time.. If you're currently in a summer season in your relationship with God, some of these will really resonate with you.
The summer season of our soul is a time of so much growth and work that we don’t have a lot of time on our hands to entertain fear. But if you slow down enough to give it some thought, you may realize a fear that’s just below the surface — the fear that you’ve gained what you asked for, but you’re not sure if He’s really in it and if He’s pleased. It’s not that things are necessarily going bad, which could make you wonder what you’ve done wrong. It’s more that you’re so busy that you can’t feel as much intimacy with Him right now. With that can come a fear of disappointing God.
A lie that you’ll most likely need to combat is that you’re not as close to God as you used to be. Again, that’s probably just a feeling and not reality, simply because you’re much busier in this season. It’s important for you to remember that your intimacy with God doesn't have to look the same as someone else’s or even as it did in past seasons of your own intimacy with Him. What you and God have is real and, like a healthy relationship in the natural, it can handle the changing seasons as long as you always come back to your first love.. That takes work, and if your time is relegated more towards tending to the things your love for Him birthed, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just make time as soon as possible to steal away with Him, even if it’s just for a minute and even if it temporarily can’t look like it has in other seasons. For us all-or-none kind of people, we tend to wait to spend time with God, or anyone we love, until we can do it perfectly. You don’t have to have everything just right in your heart and mind or an extended time of prayer, worship, and devotional just to connect with your Papa. He loves the quick minutes when you just check-in with Him, as much as He loves it when you give Him hours.
Another lie that you can’t afford to believe and empower is that you don't have what it takes to finish strong. You do have what it takes because you have Him. Closely related to that is the lie that you have to do this by yourself and you’re the only one you can really count on. Not only is God there for you, but He has sent you help, at minimum, in the form of the best help of all — the Holy Spirit who is our Helper. He also sends people that represent His heart towards you to help you. That help may not come through the people and resources you expect it to, but it will come. You may need to look in unlikely places through unlikely people, but He will always find a willing vessel to help meet you wherever you are and in whatever need you find yourself in. When we refuse to recognize His help is coming from somewhere else, if the people we usually count on are under-performing, it can cause us to become resentful of people in general, especially the ones right around us because we wonder why they won't help us. When we’re locked down wondering why they won’t help, we can miss out on recognizing the other ways and other people He has sent help through. The truth is, you are never doing anything alone. One way or another He’s got you covered, if you have eyes to recognize it.
The enemy of your soul knows just how to distract you in the summer season of your soul. It’s so obvious, but we can miss it — the temptation to just put out fires and not also continue to maintain the foundations. We tend to answer what screams the loudest when we’re tending to all the new things God has done. This is a good time to ask God to teach you how to multitask in both the natural and the spiritual sense. We can be like Nehemiah and all the Jews of his generation who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with a weapon in one hand and a construction tool in the other. It’s an important lifeskill that you’re learning and necessary for where you’re headed. Build and maintain. Grow and tend.
That being said, there’s an opposing temptation — to try to maintain through your own abilities and hard work. This may sound contradictory to the previous warning, but truth is held in tension between two opposing pulls. You don’t want to forget to tend to the basics, but you also don’t want to wear yourself down by being so responsible that you try to do it in your own strength. I have a friend who refers to this as going to the figure-it-out room, rather than going to the upper room of His presence. It's easier to rely on what you're good at or show up in your own expertise, settling for less than what we could have if we invited God into the situation. Giving into temptation in summer will keep you from going to God first for everything you need.
Summertime in your soul should cause you to revisit the basics. You’re facing a real temptation to not keep it simple. Remember to live with intentionality and remind yourself daily, "I live to know the real Him, to make the real Him known, to learn to love and to learn to be loved." You may not have enough hours in the day to get it all done, encouraging the thought that all you need is more time, when what you you really need is more of Him. Because you’re spending time doing what needs to be done, you’re going to have to resist the temptation to not spend enough focused time with Him. You’ll need to be intentional about getting refueled. Lastly, you may be tempted to try to do everything by yourself and not allow yourself to need others. Usually that’s because we’ve believed a lie that we’re the only ones we can really count on or that we can do it better ourselves. The problem with that way of thinking is that we can technically get things accomplished, but have missed out on what matters most — relationships.
The danger of the summer season of our soul is that we often haven't paced ourselves for the tests and pace of this particular season. A long, hot summer can wear us down and we compromise for any sense of relief.. It's critical now to purposefully connect with God in ways that help you shut out all other potential loves. You can be so busy that you forget to acknowledge His involvement and invite Him into all decisions. You can also be so busy that you feel guilty about all you’re involved in (practically or emotionally) because you forget He's involved in all of it with you. Chaos (practically or emotionally) never bothers Him, overwhelms Him, or makes Him stay away. He hasn't left you to "raise this child" by yourself. Perhaps you were raised by one parent or you've had to raise a child alone without a spouse, as a single parent. A lie from that may have been sown into your heart and it might surface in a summer season. The lie is that He's left you, along with this wonderful thing that you've birthed or launched together, and now you're the one left to nurture and sustain it. The truth is, He’s not that kind of lover. He's constantly offering Himself to us in every season, it just looks different and different is ok.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
There are many paths you must be directed by God in throughout your summer seasons. Because your paths need directing, learn to wait on the Holy Spirit in the upper room, not in the figure-it-out room. Go there simply to be with Him, not to get something from Him — knowing that He will always slip the wisdom you need in your “back pocket” for later, while you're enjoying Him now. And oh yeah, you have permission to enjoy your summer — enjoy Him, enjoy yourself, and enjoy others. Life’s too short not to.