I think we get it wrong when we make all of our fresh plans at the New Year. January is cold and uninspiring. No wonder we never actually stick with any of those resolutions.
But Summer, ah summer. Summer inspires. Summer invites. Summer compels.
F. Scott Fitgerald said it best in The Great Gatsby, “I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
So if summer is a time of beginnings, or at least an opportunity for them, how many people can admit with me that you’ve let summers slip away from you in the past. It’s like you have all these plans; to relax, to read, to learn to play the ukelele, and then BOOM it’s September and you never really relaxed, you started 3 books but didn’t finish any of them, and as for the uke? Well, what you mostly have is excuses. Those, and a really dusty instrument.
So before us lies this opportunity. This warm, sun glazed chance to make something new or to make something MORE. As you meditate on that and before you read more listen to this little piece of summer.
Duly inspired, I hope.
It’s now time to make your summer plans. So what can lessons from a musical life plus the Word of God teach us about setting and keeping our summer plans? Here are three ‘To-Dos’ that’ll have you looking back over the summer with this Cheshire-cat grin come September.
1. Write them down
In order to bullet proof your plans you need to write them down. Why? Well, the best advice-giver of all time, God himself, said writing it would make it easy to run with it.
Check this out, “The Lord answered me, ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Why is writing it down so important? Because it will help clarify what you want to get done. It will help you START. Many times we accomplish very little because we do not have a clear focus.
- Get accountable
In the music world we have private teachers. On a weekly basis we are held accountable for what we’re supposed to be learning. When it comes to our spiritual and emotional life, we are much more likely to go it alone, making these goals for ourselves without anyone to ask us, “How’s it going?” or God forbid, “Did you pray today?” Whatever the goal, finding an accountability partner is key to your success. Trust me when I say accountability will not only keep you engaged, it will accelerate your performance.
- Don’t overplan
According to Forbes, “Many people…. make large bucket lists or attempt extreme makeovers, whether personal or professional.That’s a nice aspiration, experts say—but the average person has so many competing priorities that this type of approach is doomed to failure. Essentially, shooting for the moon can be so psychologically daunting, you end up failing to launch in the first place.”
So in the spirit of accountability and simplicity, I am picking 3 goals for this summer and I am encouraging you to do the same. In line with this blog they are either musical or spiritual (or both). I have selected an accountability partner for each one. If you care to read them you can find them below. If you don’t care what I’m up to, skip that and just jump to the last paragraph.
- I am going to spend quality time with my spiritual mentor, an awesome woman of God in her 70’s. I’m going to ask her to talk to me on the phone weekly throughout the summer. (I hope she says yes!) For these conversations I am going to prepare questions so I can glean as much as possible from her wisdom and understanding.
- I’m getting real with my piano skills. It’s time to up my game specifically for church music. This will look like 20 mins a day 4 days a week. That’s only a total of 80 minutes per week! If I can’t do that, I should be fired from life!
- I am memorizing 1 bible verse per week. My plan is to write it down on the chalk board in my kitchen and everyday erase a word. My accountability partner for this one is my long-suffering husband. What he doesn’t know is he’s about to get hoodwinked into memorizing with me.
So, this is me throwing down the gauntlet. It’s summer (almost). Time to begin anew, not because it’s a new year, but because it’s a fresh moment. Take this opportunity to seize these short months to propel yourself forward in your life goals and in your spiritual walk. And if you are bold enough, share them here with us.
Let’s make this a summer where the livin’ is more than easy. Let’s make it a summer where the livin’ counts.