May 28, 2019 | Olivia Elder
Planning my summer bliss
I always look forward to the warm and sunny days of summer. In my mind, I visualize days of no worry or stress, just fun. As the summer approaches, I get busy imagining and planning all the things that I want to do.
You may be thinking, “Come on Olivia, aren’t your ideas about summer a little naive, reserved for an ideal world?” But when it comes to my summer plans, I get nostalgic and ambitious.
Here is what I mean. There are two things I live for and want to do all summer: swim and read. To be honest, when I’m working, it’s very hard for me to relax and enjoy the summer. I admit that I sometimes make up my mind and no one can tell me what to do. I need time to shut my brain off because sometimes it keeps racing with the things that I need to do.
But then I catch myself: Have I considered what God may have in store for my summer plans? If so, how much? I am learning that I don’t just need to include God in my summer plans, but realizing that only he has the best plans for me.
God’s plans differ from mine
There was one summer in particular that God’s plans for me didn’t look like what I had planned or expected at all. I was invited to work at a children’s summer camp. I wanted to do it for my love of children, so I was excited for the opportunity.
However, once I agreed to work, I started to question God. “For goodness’ sake, I’m in a wheelchair. I can’t even pick up a kid if he or she falls. I can’t even put a bandage on their bruises or catch them before they fall. What use would I be? How will this work? Seriously God, what are you thinking?”
On top of that, one of my friends asked me to help out in the camp kitchen. How in the world did she expect me to do this? After all, I was the one who needed help with everything. I can’t even pick up a spoon or hold a bowl by myself.
Later, that same friend of mine suggested that I share my testimony with one of the cabin groups. I had my doubts. I worried. Would the kids pay attention to my robotic, computer voice? After praying about it, I agreed to do it.
With the help of my digital communication device, God used my testimony to reach into their little lives and touch them. I was astonished and thrilled to see their heartfelt response. God had opened an unexpected door for me to share the good things he had done in my life.
God is my strength
To be very honest with you, there were some days when I didn’t want to be with the kids at all. I wanted to stay at our family cottage or just be alone with my friends. Of course, God convicted me that I wasn’t there to serve myself, but to put others before me.
Although I was tired and wanted to be lazy, I knew it was not all about me. Even though I often craved my own desires more than I wanted to serve God, that’s when the Holy Spirit did his work. He reminded me that it’s only through him that “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Against all odds, that summer, God taught me that anything is possible with him. Even though I had initially accepted the challenge to work with kids, I still had to work through my many doubts and fears. In the end I was amazed and satisfied to see God working through me to bless others. I could see at the end of the summer that eventually his plan for me was best.
A posture of humility and dependence
Here is how I am learning to approach my summer plans: I am learning to come to God with a humble and dependent attitude. I feel the need to say, “God, I don’t know your plans for me, but reveal them and help me to have a brave heart and willing attitude. Please also provide me the strength to walk into the plans you have for me.”
From this experience, I strongly believe that my relationship with God needs to inform my summer plans. For me, this means daily meditating on and praying through God’s word, and then seeing how he leads me to serve in my community of believers.
Prayer based on God’s word is the most important thing that I have to do because God might have other plans for me that are better than my own. Before I do anything, I must ask God first.
I am reminded that if I am going to live a satisfying summer, my plans need to line up with God’s. I don’t remember where I heard it, but there is a saying that goes, “If it is God’s will, then I will do it.’’