When I think of summer, and maybe you do, too, I think “school’s out, time to throw the rigid schedule out the window and relax for a while.” We can’t wait to leave our life behind and head to a new destination to soak up culture or adventure or sun. Or all three at once. It’s a time to forget our regular life for a bit and just play. Am I right? Summer is full of fun and just going with the flow. It’s funny, though, I do remember when my kids were in school - whether that was elementary, middle, or high school - I remember getting to a point where I couldn’t wait for them to go back to school so we all could get back to a routine. After a while, too much unstructured time takes its toll mentally. There is something to be said for a routine and structure and productivity.
In the season of life that is Summer, it’s a little different. It’s actually not a time to slow down or leave responsibilities behind. It’s not a time throw everything out the window and just play. It’s quite the opposite. In the life season of Summer, it’s a time to nourish and protect what was planted in the Spring.
So, if you’ll remember, in the past two weeks, I’ve talked about the season of life that is Winter, that gives way to the season of Spring. Winter is evident when there is sadness, heartbreak, loneliness, and sickness - whether that be physical or emotional.
If you have learned, prepared, and rested through Winter, then you usher in a beautiful Spring.
The season of Spring is full of hope, new beginnings, and opportunities. It’s a time of planting seeds of possibility that will create something new in your life. The Winter season has allowed you time and space to find out what you want and what you need in order to create the life you love. And Spring is a time to sow those seeds, to take action on those discoveries you made about yourself and your life in Winter.
And so now here we are in Summer. Summer shows signs of growth from those seeds planted. The seedling is working hard, pushing the earth aside as it breaks through to reach upwards towards the sun. And if you’ve chosen to sow good seed, if this is something that you love and you’ve decided is what you want in your life, then you’re going to want to continue to nourish it and protect it from the elements all Summer long.
In late spring, I bought a blooming vine - a Mandevilla - and planted it up next to my wrought iron fence - a perfect place for it to climb and grow. When I got it, it was full of beautiful hot pink flowers. It began to sprout new legs and twist itself around each pole. I loved watching the innate way it began to be self-supported. I even marveled at the way the vines seemed to stretch out in order to reach the adjacent pole. Only to twist itself again - up and around. So cool. But one day, I looked out there and all the blooms were gone. I kept watching it, but there were no new buds popping open. And some of the leaves started to turn yellow and then brown. Now, I don’t have a natural “green thumb”, but I know how to Google. And I found out that in order to get the most blooms throughout the summer, it needed a particular nourishment. In the heat of summer, the plant needs a high phosphorus, water soluble fertilizer once every two weeks. This keeps the vine blooming generously. So, I did just that. And what do you know, it’s looking healthier and starting to put off new blooms. But every two weeks it’s going to need this attention and care throughout the summer. And I have other plants that need different kinds of attention. The Vincas will thrive in hot, humid weather and are drought tolerant. A perfect flowering plant for Texas - especially Houston. And if you water them too much, the leaves will turn yellow and it’ll stunt their growth. Vincas won't bloom if its roots are waterlogged. So, making sure they’re not over-watered will keep them from giving out on you. And as with all plants in the summer, you have to protect their growing space by pulling out weeds. Otherwise the weeds will choke them out. Summer is a time tonourish & protect.
In your life season of Summer, it’s the time when the efforts you executed in Spring begin to show promise of future opportunity, and the path to your goal looks clearer. But it’s going to require consistent effort and persistence in Summer. You’re going to have to keep your eye on those things you’ve planted - your dreams, desires, the newness that’s ahead - you’ve got to keep your eye on them to make sure they’re getting the nourishment and protection they need. This is not the time to throw everything out the window and relax. It’s the time to fertilize your good habits and your determination, and pull out the weeds of bad habits and negative thinking. It’s the time to reinforce the infrastructure that are the good thoughts that will allow that dream to have something to reach for and attach to. Your reinvention, or your goal, or adding something new into your life is just getting started. It’s not yet come to fruition; it’s not yet in full bloom. You’re growing it. And the stage that you’re in is vulnerable and needs protection and consistent nourishment.
The warning here is to not kick back and be lazy. You must protect your progress like a farmer protects his crop from weeds and drought and pests.
So, how do you make the best of your summer? Apply what you learned in Winter.
Remember, in Winter it was a time to learn about yourself - what you like and don’t like, what you want in your life and what you no longer want to move forward with, what your hopes and dreams are; who you want to be…and not be. In the Spring you decided how to execute the plan and sowed seeds by setting these things in motion. These were your action steps to create something new. Now, with effort and nourishment, you will begin to see the results of your persistence.
So, the Summer of life is a time to protect these decisions that were made in Winter. Spiritually, this is a time to guard your faith-walk carefully. Remember, it’s not a time to get lazy and set responsibilities aside. But instead you must protect that time that you’ve set aside to read your Bible and pray. It’s a time to not let the diligence of seeking God slip out of routine. It’s a time to reject the self-destructive thought that you can just set your Bible aside for a few months to play and relax. Weeds grow way faster than seeds planted, don’t they?
So, the way you protect what you’ve previously decided you want is to frequently review the plan. You must, with determination, revisit what it is you want and what you need to do to get it. Even if that means you must change old thoughts and beliefs, conversations, habits, your attitudes, your opinions, and sometimes your occupations, your residence, and even the people around you that are influencing your life. It also means that you must not neglect yourself by doubting yourself and the decisions you made based on what you’ve learned from past experiences. You must move forward in confidence, knowing God is directing you, leading you, guiding you. Because where there is neglect, there is loss. God is giving you the opportunity for something new and something beautiful in the future. Protect it at all costs.
Friend, in the life season of Summer, it’s a time to be diligent. But don’t forget to enjoy what’s blooming along the way. It’s actually good to take an account of your progress. It keeps you on track. But don’t forget - the final yield will be harvested in Fall. We have that to look forward to next. The life season of Summer. It’s a time to nourish and protect what was planted in the Spring - your faith, your dreams, your decisions, your plan for another beautiful life.
And the result will be something more spectacular than you could’ve ever dreamed possible.
Hey friend, if you’re not quite sure how to nourish and protect your hopes and dreams for your future, I’d love to be your Life Coach. Together, we’ll evaluate what it is you want and what you need to do to get it. I’ll give you some actionable steps that will help bring clarity and confidence in the decisions you have made.
I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call just so we can see if we’re a good fit to work together and show you how Life Coaching would work for you.
Also, don’t forget click the link in the show notes to get the free, downloadable guide that complements this episode.
Have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.