Welcome back! I pray your day is full of moments that count. This post speaks frankly to anyone struggling with the temptations unique to the summer season. Here on this blog, we chat about the stuff that really matters. If there is a topic near and dear to your heart you want to see here, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can go from there. And now …
What is your biggest temptation during the dog days of summer?
In my twenties, I often had a drink while sand sifted between my toes and the sun cooked my skin. Ice cold beer found its way into our coolers, refrigerators, and backpacks. Growing up in a world where alcohol was its center, summer really was no different than any other time of year, just perhaps a different temperature.
Thank you, Jesus. I no longer have any desire for alcohol. I owe everything I am to Him.
[If you find yourself in the midst of problems related to alcohol use, please reach out to someone your trust or Alcoholics Anonymous hotline, private and free 1-800-840-0762.]
Unfortunately, Satan does not stop bugging us after God supernaturally takes a sin away.
There are never-ending whispers to eat another brownie, buy the fourth pair of black shoes just because they are cute, or keep smoking until a doctor tells you to stop.
Whatever your weakness, the enemy seeks to play you like a fiddle until his creepy voice drowns out Sirie’s directions to Heaven.
I will share my top two temptations in summer. Perhaps this will help you identify yours:
Seems really funny to me how careful I am to plan and shop for Christmas, but when summer hits, so do a lot of unexpected expenses. That is, if you are me.
Just take groceries, for instance. The boys are now either with me or around as I am heading out the door.
“Mom, can we have Cocoa Puffs this time?”
“I don’t like strawberries (the ones that were just BOGO), can you get us a different fruit?”
Or do the temptations come with huge pockets of fillable time? Commercials and friends and just their smart selves, they know what’s out there for entertainment (Skyzone, ice cream shops on every corner, minor league baseball. You name it, we got it in Central Pa).
I will admit, I am excited to do things we don’t normally get to do with school and homework and sports. I have a more balanced approach now than I did in the past.
Keeping control of your budget gets tricky when feelings take over.
Dictionary.com defines jealousy as “resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage.”
For years before I knew God, I struggled to feel like a good enough parent. With unresolved depression and bitterness to manage, I looked around and saw parents who were more patient, more loving, with bigger houses and bigger budgets.
My insecure self wanted to give our kids the same opportunities the “better” parents were giving their children.
I was broken and beaten down by a world that values material success.
When you are jealous, you covet what others have. Back then, it was expensive summer camps and an available parent to manage cub scouts.
We tried both. Neither was successful in making our kids “happy”.
When we covet, we are headed for anything but happy. Same goes for our children.
But allow me to switch gears a bit here.
I maintain it is still okay … make that necessary … to dream.
A couple of my current heart’s longings:
Natural garden beauty(thank you, photo credit goes to my dear friend Donna)
A treehouse with aluminum siding and incredibly cute windows. Yes, still drooling when I walk by, here’s the link to the fun Fall post about this very thing:
The difference now and my past behavior:
I can admire the beauty in what others have without wanting it for myself because I am thankful for my life as a whole.
Over the last couple years, my husband and I have thought smarter, not harder, with regard to summer for the boys.
Again and always, thank you Jesus.
We bought a basketball hoop (instead of paying for an expensive sports camp)
We bought a pool membership (a one-time sum in the spring which gives us a summer-long activity)
We book a friend’s family beach rental for much less than a standard hotel (we have to drive to the beach, but the savings is phenomenal. This will be our 3rd year in a row of a 3 night family vacation)
Our focus has moved from
what can we buy the boys and/or what can we sign them up for?
how can we enjoy being together?
We have taught our children not everyone has the same material things.
In my husband’s famous words,
“Not everyone has the same blessings.”
Our family’s 2017 summer theme is loving each other well.
Because if we don’t have love, we have nothing.
Before we say goodbye today, be sure to get lost in these beautiful God-breathed words that are true in any season:
Whatever is good and perfect comes down from God our Father
Who created all the lights in the heavens.
He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word.
And we out of all creation became his prized possession.
Have a beautiful summer day! If you are tempted by the enemy for anything, remember Our Jesus is always loving and never, ever condemns us.
In His Love, Julie
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