I love summer.
I’m not a fan of heat and humidity, but otherwise, I really love it.
I love my kids being home and the quiet nights of freedom instead of the evenings rushing to activities.
I love not having an hour of homework and a surprise project sent home on the one week you don’t have time for an extra project.
I love lightning bugs and lemonade and concerts by the beach.
I love not rushing through the morning routine every day to make the bus on time.
But last year my husband said he thought I was more stressed during the summer.
So, I wonder, how can I feel like I love summer so much and yet exude stress to others?
I blame it on the weather app.
Because, as much as I love summer, what I really love is a plan. Summer would be so much more fun for me if I could just schedule every relaxing activity, every day trip, every play date on my calendar in May.
That way, I would know exactly what kind of fun I was going to have every single day from June through August.
Perfect! It’s probably the only way besides outdoor air-conditioning that I could possibly improve on the whole concept of summer.
But, alas, the essential unpredictability of life bumps into my happy bubble.
So, one day I’m blissfully driving my minivan into town for a walk on Main Street. The sages who run my weather app say there is 0% chance of rain for the next few hours.
It starts raining on me as I drive.
Maybe we need to have a chat about what 0% really means. I mean, I’ll allow for a tiny bit of rain if there is even 10% chance of precipitation. But when you say 0%, I’m kind of going to count on sunshine.
Last summer, I foolishly thought ahead, gathered information, and made a plan for a week of summer fun. I even wrote on my calendar in Sharpie marker.
Sharpie marker! That’s permanent planning for you.
I checked the commitments we already had on the calendar. I checked my weather app. This day would be gorgeous. I could take my kids somewhere outside. It will be 86 and sunny. Perfect.
On Sunday, though, my weather app reloaded with new numbers. Surprise! It would be 95 and gross outside. Make a new plan.
I hate making new plans.
I get it. Really, I do. The weather folks have a tough job with vocal, unreasonable critics like me who mistake ‘predictions’ for facts. It’s a complicated system and God can move clouds and alter weather patterns at will.
But here’s the bottom line. What stresses me out about summer is that I am forced into a flexibility I don’t possess.
It’s like my daughters complaining about doing the splits in dance class. I’m yelling at the pain as my Teacher assures me I can go a little lower.
This feels as low as I can go. It hurts. I’m pretty sure I could snap some bones and permanently damage my hips with all this forced flexibility.
And, one of the few thing I hate more than changes in plans is making decisions. But every time a plan changes, I get to make a new decision about something I had already decided before.
I am now making double the decisions and trying to make them with constantly changing, thoroughly unreliable information.
I hate summer.
Oh really, what I need, what I truly, deep-down really need is grace.
God made me a planner. He etched agendas and schedules and calendars on my soul. He loves me enough to use all that’s good about my planning ways, but He won’t leave me here with the pitfalls of control and idolatry and lack of trust.
He stretches me into someone even more beautiful and Jesus-filled: A planner who trust Him with her plans.
That means not hyperventilating when someone calls me and asks to interrupt my plans for the day.
It means checking the weather app without a meltdown.
It means getting rained on sometimes and just laughing in the rain.
It means making a decisions that turn out to be wrong and just letting that go instead of allowing it to throw me into a mudpit of self-condemnation.
Maybe I can learn to really love summer after all. It won’t be easy, of course, but it will be God at work in me, and that’s beautiful.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG).