It’s June and, after a few unseasonably cool weeks, summer has finally arrived in Nicosia. (Weather.com tells me it’s 38 degrees C out there today- I am hiding inside!)
Once again, as the temperatures rise, I notice that we are beginning to live differently. We walk more slowly, get up earlier, stay up later, nap in the afternoons. School closes, we wear hats, close the shutters at 9am – ‘to keep the cool in’, drink a lot of water and count down the days to when we can escape to chilly, wet England for the holidays.
Last week, as I walked lazily through the old city with visiting friends (in search of ice-cold frappé); one of those friends pointed out another new habit I seem to have gained: I cross the road a lot. It took me while to work out what they meant, but it turns out that like many Nicosians at this time of year, I’m forever crossing over to the other side of the street as I subconsciously choose to walk or stand in patches of shade.
This week’s postcard is ‘walking in the shade’ because I’m aware that life can sometimes be ‘superheated’.
A hot season could be fired by pain, grief, fear, anxiety or uncertainty, or any number of other things, but a major culprit that turns the heat up under many of us are IHE’s: Impossibly High Expectations.
IHE’s -Supercareerguy/girl, superpastor, supermodel, superparent, superfriend, superspouse, superchristian, superblogpostwriter (pick your poison) fanned and fueled by family expectations, the media, church, facebook, pinterest, etc. put us (or make us put ourselves) under enormous pressure. There is always another standard for us to measure our ‘success’ against, always another job that needs to be done yesterday. That can make things pretty hot.
Whatever the cause; if you’re living in a hot place – you need to learn to walk in the shade.
The Bible tells me that the Lord my God is ‘the shade at [my] right hand’ (Psalm 121:5). In a hot season you have to hunt out the shade. If that means crossing the road every time you turn a corner or walking a longer way around then so be it … If you’re in a hot place right now, it might be taking all you’ve got to keep going, and there may not be much time or energy to invest in your relationship with Jesus. Please find some. I’ve noticed that when the sun is at its highest and hottest if you want to get shade from something you have to walk very close to it. And the closer you get, the deeper the shade.
So, if you’re in a hot season, walk close to Jesus. Don’t let anger or disappointment, or tiredness or bewilderment make you decide to walk out in the heat of the sun. Choose the shade. And then keep on choosing it.
Of course, I know that not everyone who reads this will be living in a hot season… Some of you will be in a cold one. Perhaps God feels a long way away right now; or maybe you feel as though your heart has somehow grown cold. I was praying about this today and I felt God remind me that in the winter, everyone in my city chooses to walk in the sunshine…
That’s our beautiful God my friends: In the blast of the hot season he is the shade at your right hand, in the chill of the cold season he is the gentle sunlight that brings warmth to your soul. Wherever you are living right now, draw near to him… he is what you need.
For your Journal:
Think about what this postcard says to you. What kind of season are you in right now? How would you describe it? What reasons do you have for pressing in close to God, for listening for his voice, for walking the path he asks you to walk?
What do you think it means to walk close to God? What does it take to get there?
I’m going to think some more about those IHE’s… expect more next week 🙂