Summer's Standard

It’s the first day of summer!

Possibly my favorite day of the year!

For two and a half months I get to spend concentrated time with three of my favorite people. We’ve had enough years doing this to know that my idyllic version of summer – which involves endless days of my three children all eagerly reading books, climbing trees, and exploring the STEM kits my husband has lined up in the basement - won’t be a reality.

But even with the regular requests for snacks and Jack’s pizza, bickering, and whining over being bored that I know will for sure come, my heart is full knowing there is much good coming in these long days.

Our summer isn’t all about the slow life and relaxing. In fact it appears today may be the last empty box on the calendar for the next couple of months. We’ve signed up for a lot. There’s the baseball, Cub Scout camp, church camp, swim team (a sudden last minute addition, help!)…

I signed my three up for their activities with the goal of watching them grow, find something they love, and learn new things that excite them.

The descriptions on these activities and much parenting advice I read online tells me the goal is to help my children become the best “you” they can be. This is also the message I’m constantly hearing. The goal is to be the best me I can be, right?

While folding mounds of laundry that somehow all fell on my plate this week, I listened to a recorded message that shifted my thinking and refocused this goal away from becoming the best possible me.

Summer girl.jpg

At my very best. The best me I can possibly be where I am kind and loving and patient and self-controlled, even with all of these Angie’s moving together in the best possible way, I’m still human.

The very best potential me I can be still falls a million miles short of perfection.

I’m not intending to minimize the importance of working hard and striving to be my best. But I’m embracing this goal to acknowledge that my very best still isn’t the best.

The hope that spreads over this thought is in knowing that there is some One who is the very best. Jesus Christ, God’s son, lived on this Earth as the perfect example of the best life that could be lived. And I believe He lives in Heaven today, still the very best hope I have.

Believing this shifts the vision for myself and for my children. I absolutely want to encourage them in these days to learn, mature, move forward, and I always want them to do their best. Along with this I hope to hold out to them the example of Jesus as who they are trying to be more like.

Living up to their potential is so important. I am constantly reminding them to give it their best try, to put all their effort into it, and not settle for half-heartedness,

The way to do all of these things, I realized is not only to imagine what all we can do, but to go further and imagine what all God can do. Even giving 100% effort, and if I would reach the very goal of being the very best Angie, I would fall short.

However, if my goal for living my very best life is to live as close as possible to Jesus’ example, I’m challenged to an even better standard than I’ve considered before.

Even though the summer is full of so much potential and possibility, I know we will often muddle through the days putting less than our best effort forward. I’ve done this enough times to remember we will get lazy, spend too much time in front of screens, complain it’s too hot to do anything fun outside, but even accepting that, I am excited about how we will grow as people this summer.

I am even more excited knowing we have set as our standard something better than trying to be our best selves. As the writer of Ephesians encouraged that early church in how to live their days, I am beginning the summer embracing this alternative to the best me…

“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14-15)