10 Things I Learned in Spring '22
Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow
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Ooh, ooooh, ooooooh!
Spring has sprung, my people!
New life is growing all around - a tangible reminder of how God invites us into new life with Him. For this and more, I have soaked in every drop of rain and burst of color in my yard this Spring as well as a few truths which have found rest in my soul.
I thoroughly look forward to writing this season rewind post each time because this practice of gratitude is so important to cultivating a rich life. Gratitude, like the rain, prepares the soil of our hearts so new beauty can grow.
Without further ado, here are ten things (not all the things but ten things) I've learned this last season.
1. 'Tis the season for daffodils, tulips, peonies and picnics!
Even if it's rainy, throw a blanket on the floor in the living room and have yourself a fun picnic! Keep it simple - veggies and pasta, grab a pizza from your favorite place and head to the park, or pack a couple sandwiches and load up the kayak or the bikes. Enjoy good conversation with your best friend, and may I suggest packing a handful of blueberries? You're never too old to practice catching a few in your mouth.
P.S. This peony is growing in my backyard! EEEEE! (It only took three years!) THIS is the picture of my heart these days. So incredibly full!
2. Steam tractor shows...what to expect:
Ginormous steam tractors. Seriously, they're huuuuuuuuge!
Overalls. Not the trendy kind, we're talkin' the OG Farmer kind. Turns out, I'm a fan of both!
Red necks. Both the one-word and the two-word kind ...both in plenty!
And, well, if it rains for days and days leading up to the big weekend... mud. But what a fun excuse to wear wellies!
Sparklers. Ooh yes! We love sparklers! Especially when they come out of a steam tractor!
For this and more, mark your calendar for the first weekend of May next year and come check out the annual Steam Tractor Show in Pawnee, Oklahoma! It's fun and guaranteed to be altogether different than anything you've experienced before! (Also, it's quite remarkable to see the creativity and ingenuity of people a hundred years ago and how hard they worked to feed America.)
Oh, and if you go and don't try a fresh squeezed lemonade, you're making a BIG mistake! Tastes like summer!
3. Enjoy the journey.
Turns out, the best way to see Napa is on foot. Like running through a museum of hand-painted murals, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
Running a half marathon is a lot like the spiritual discipline of fasting for me. When I mentally feel like giving up, I have to press on and set my mind on things above.
While training for the two half marathons I ran this Spring - (TWO. Who am I?? I blame my ambition more than my athleticism.) - I found myself struggling, trying to reach seven miles while doubts of "How will I run 13 in a few weeks if I'm straining for seven now?"
Then, while running through the vineyards in Napa along mile 7, I found myself with very different thoughts. This time it was, "I don't want this to end. I have to soak in every second of this run through this scenery."
My point is this: Run in Napa, not Oklahoma.
My real point is to enjoy the journey. I think this is what James meant when he said to consider it pure joy now because this journey - this testing of our faith - produces perseverance, which has a maturing effect and develops character within us.
4. Help me be faithful today.
Ever wonder how you're ever going to reach your dreams?
That was me the other day. I woke up thinking, "God, I'm here. And 'here' looks nothing like 'there.' I believe You're going to take me there to do something for You. I have no doubt. But how do I get from 'here' to 'there'?"
His answer was simple but profound. "Be faithful here. I've got the rest."
So, friend, this is my prayer and I'm sharing with you so it can be your prayer for your dreams, too -
"Lord, help me be faithful today - right here where You have me. I believe being faithful 'here' is how You are preparing me for 'there.'"
5. There's a time and place for everything.
Even business cards.
This "quite frankly" moment is brought to you by a little segment we'll call Notes to My Future Self.
"Quite frankly," I don't want your business card ...unless you've taken the time to have a conversation with me first.
Start with others in mind. Get to know the person. Hear what's important to them. Then, if you feel a gift God has given you can serve and help them with what they need, offer your support (and your business card, if you're into this sort of thing). But for gosh sake's, the reverse of this - starting with your card - you may never hear what's important to them and "quite frankly," leaves them feeling like a means to the end.
Let's be intentional to make those around us feel seen and heard and served.
6. Seek the good all around you, and when you find it, celebrate it!
Tulips are my favorite! The simplicity, the way they stand, how they stretch towards the sun, how they open up, and how they’re the first sign (often before green grass) of Spring - of new life - after a long, cold winter.
Yes, for all this and more, tulips are celebrated around here!
Here’s a fun way you can celebrate them in your home too. Many have seen the fun I’ve had with bouquets and asked for a wreath, so here you go!
Let’s Try That…Spring Tulip Wreath!
7. This, too, is holy.
As a Type A Creative, the messiness of the creative process is hard for me. I much prefer when structure is in place and a clear path is defined. Working on a book, I found myself in this unwanted space of messiness this Spring. On one side, I was thankful to have ideas flowing, but on the other, my thoughts filled the pages as bullet points still to be placed and sense - connection - still needing to be made.
I found myself realizing - this is important. This step is not to be rushed. This too is holy. Let God do the work He wants to do in this. He's not intimidated by our messiness. Instead, this is where His power is made known the fullest.
In what areas of your life, do you see the messiness around you and need to remember -
"This is not where I want to be, but this is where I need to be. This, too, is holy."
8. But, is it worth a trip to Maui?!
Thanks to Bob's new book, Undistracted, this is a recurring question for me.
When tempted to say something critical, rude or unkind of another, let's learn from Bob and start charging ourselves $500 each time. Why $500? It's about the cost of a flight to Maui, so we can gain some perspective - critical word versus trip to Maui?
Hey, whatever it takes to hold that tongue! Our words are powerful. Let's be mindful to use them for good.
9. You were given elbows for a reason. Go 'head and link arms.
Whatever purpose God has laid on your heart - prayerfully ask Him to bring people to help you. Then, link arms with them when He does.
Learn and grow together. He has new things for you to learn and He uses people to help us each step of the way.
And if you can, spend a morning together in a creative, colorful space. It’s fun and the authentic conversation is just so good for the soul.
10. While we were still prickly, God's loving kindness reached for us.
Have you ever had someone step toward you when insecurity and your mistakes made you altogether prickly or not fun to be around?
If you have, you know how humbling and overwhelming it is to experience this loving kindness.
This happened for me the SAME day I was studying kindness. Coincidence? I think not.
The SAME day I was reading how God instructs us to practice kindness (Zechariah 7:9). Kindness is not being nice or polite, it is STRENGTH. It requires immense strength - the kind that can only come from above - to refrain from reacting to a negative response with more negativity - to speak what will benefit them instead of what they deserve.
And, here's where the prickly part absolutely wrecked me...
God reached down while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8) Even when He knew sometimes we’d be selfish and proud and prickly, He reached for us out of the kindness of His heart.
Indeed, kindness reaches.
It was kindness that reached arm to arm across the wood of a tree, nailed and crucified for our sins. It is the kindness of God which leads us to repentance. When we look at the cross and see all God has done for us, all the kindness He has shown, we are led to repent of our sins and walk in His love and follow His commands.
Here's my point: Experiencing this reaching kindness from another pointed me directly to God ...which motivated me - to whom can I show the reaching kindness of the Lord today?
Looking back helps us gain perspective as we look forward. This summer, going along with this call to rest, I'm soooooo looking forward to inviting you to be refreshed with me as we spend a Summer in the Psalms.
In our next series, I will introduce you to some of my friends who have spent time in the Psalms to help guide us as we read one Psalm a day for the duration of the summer.
You know, we often say we want rest, but if we're not intentional to seek it, we won't find it.
Let's seek rest and refreshment in the Psalms of God's Word together!
Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?
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Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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