This week we’re grateful to share with you a word from Mercy staff member, Jamillah. Like many, Jamillah is embracing summer and all this warm, sunny season entails. She shares how her reflection of summer reminded her of a greater truth.
If the heat alone was not enough indication, let me tell you, summer is here! Have you ever stopped to reflect on the symbolic meaning of the four seasons? If not, it’s okay – I can be nerdy in that way. Of course, we know that summertime is the hottest time of year. It’s when we don shorts and flip flops and plan trips to beaches and water parks. But of all four seasons, summer signifies freedom.
So many people look forward to the summer – most students are no longer subject to classwork, businessmen and women break away from work to take vacations, and we enjoy longer hours of daylight to spend outdoors and connect with friends and family. This is a time of great fun, when we feel carefree, even if just for a time.
I always look forward to taking road trips and vacations with family. But this year, there is no summer family vacation planned. In fact, I won’t see a beach for another seven months! And as the stresses and pressures of life continue to bear down on me, I find myself in need of breaking away!
But in my reflection of what the start of summer means, the freedom it embodies, I am reminded that true freedom extends beyond external factors. As long as we live on this earth, we will face trials, stressors, and things that put our faith to the test. But God promises that He is with us always (Matthew 28:20). All we need to do is change our perspective. Renew our minds to His Word and His Truth.
Romans 12:2 (NLT) says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
We won’t change anything about our lives until we change what we focus on and put our energy into. And our focus will not change until we change our mindsets. When we recognize negative thinking, what do we think on instead? In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul advises us “to fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
I encourage you to choose to find joy in the now and then think on THAT. Don’t allow yourself to defer joy to a future accomplishment – or in my case, a vacation. Happiness should not be determined by a set goal to be met in the future. While a vacation will be nice and greatly appreciated when it comes, I can choose to remain in joy which comes in the presence of God. Psalm 16:11 says “in thy presence is fullness of joy.” Have you ever noticed that when you spend time with God, you are no longer stressed or bothered by the cares of life? Weariness is replaced with peace, sadness with gladness. In the presence of God, we are free.