I head back to school next week, and summer vacation will be officially over. In the books. Finito. While I’m excited to dive into another school year with my students, it’s been hard to let summer go this time around.
If you had asked me in May to name five things I was most looking forward to or hoping to do this summer, I would have had answers for you. However, here in August, I have to admit that none of them happened. None of them! Sigh. It’s been the summer where very little went according to plan, which hurts even more because I’m an excellent planner. Ask anyone in my everyday life—my planning skills are a little bit magical.
But sometimes things just don’t work out. And in talking with my friends, I’ve discovered it’s been the same for many of them in these summer months.
My goals were sidelined by needs outside of my control. Hopes have been deferred, which truly does make the heart sick. Unexpected things (good things, but not on my radar) took up significant amounts of time.
Now these months have passed and I’m left with a big pile of sadness. What do you do with a heap of things that did not come to pass sitting in your lap?
Well, if you’re me, I’ve cried a few tears over them. I’ve attempted to leave them in God’s hands and move on. I’ve transferred my energy to things coming up on the calendar, and I’m thankful for those bright spots on the horizon.
It still hurts, though. It’s important to sit with the pain and acknowledge it, and it’s proper to grieve the loss of things we hoped would happen.
We don’t want to stay bogged down in the disappointment, though. I want to embrace this new season with joy and hope and not feel defeated before it even starts.
A few Scriptures have come to mind. Psalm 138:8a says: “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” Paul writes in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
God is in the finishing business. He sees things through. His faithfulness is the mainstay of this universe. I can’t tell you why so much for me seemed unfinished or undone or flat-out impossible this summer. But my hope isn’t in those things. My faith isn’t in my own ability to accomplish my goals. My hope and faith rest in Jesus Christ, who is worthy of all praise even when I’m disappointed about the way things turned out.
This is still a struggle. There’s no answer or easy switch from summer regret to autumn anticipation. But each day there’s a choice on where we place our focus. Choose to look up. Process as needed, and then lift your head. There are better days coming.