(Written by Jessica Morris)
First of all, we have to address the obvious… how is summer already over?! I know everyone’s summer is different, but for me this one F L E W by.
I’m actually in denial that we are already halfway through August.
Summer 2016 was a good one for the Morris family. I had my first official “Study Leave,” we had the annual Morris family vacation in Breckenridge (so fun!), and we celebrated Hagen’s FIRST birthday (I’m in denial about that as well).
A great summer in my book.
But throughout my first, “official” summer as a working mom God taught me quite a bit. Our summer was jam packed with really exciting trips/events/projects… but it was still jam packed. And, in all honesty, I don’t handle “jam packed” all that great.
When life is chaotic my focus tends to shift from the blessings to the overwhelming.
& So, this summer God taught me a lot about PERSPECTIVE. Looking back, I feel as though this was a refining summer. I hate “refining seasons” but I now I can see how needed and necessary it was.
Here’s the verse God kept leading me back to…
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
This is the version most of us are familiar with, but I just love the Easy-to-Read Version on this passage…check it out.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (ERV)
We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. 2 We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. 3 Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying.
This summer I was constantly reminded to FIX my eyes on jesus, to never stop LOOKING to and at Jesus. It was a battle and a struggle, but it was something I needed to practice over and over and over again.
So, here were (and are) my top 3 lessons & challenges from Hebrews 12:1-3…
LESSON #1: FIX MY EYES
To fix my eyes on JESUS…not on my problems, discouragements, childcare (re)arrangements, work schedules, grocery shopping, or lack of time management… but on JESUS. The leader of my faith who suffered on the cross, accepted the shame, and because of it I am free. I love the simplicity of verse 2: “We must NEVER stop looking to Jesus.” My challenge is to keep Jesus on the forefront of my mind, heart, & perspective.
LESSON #2: REMEMBER MY PEOPLE
To look, remember, & consult my people during the busy/difficult/overwhelming times. To remember their faith, endurance, and perseverance through life and know that my deal is just that- a deal… a passing season that will (hopefully) soon change. Having people that keep that stuff in perspective is key (& biblical;) My challenge is to be HONEST with those around me about my trials, struggles, and temptations.
LESSON#3: LET GOD WORK
Verse 3, “Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying,” encourages me to not give up, to not become discouraged, or grow weary during times where God is molding and shaping and sharpening me into who he is calling me to be. Seasons of refining and shaping are T O U G H. And I’ve found myself discouraged, overwhelmed, and lost at times. But one thing I know to be true is that God does what needs to be done. He shapes and molds and makes us into the people he is calling us to be. The process is exhausting… mainly because I fight it. I fight the change, I fight the molding, I fight the process of getting to the other side. But at the end of the day I’ve become far more content in knowing that God is working and I might as well just allow it to happen. And not only that, but also to trust in the process and know that I believe in a God who knows what’s best and does just that. My challenge here is to simply be still. To spend time quieting my soul and spending time being real and honest with God and letting him give me the “peace that surpasses all understanding.”