I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I’ve come to love the fall season is the abundant days of Indian Summer. Now, if any of you are like me, originally from places that don’t really have seasons, then this may be a new term to you. Basically, Indian Summer days are those rare days in the fall of the year when it seems like summer has returned. You can tell it’s fall. Don’t get me wrong. There is just a fallish “nip” to the breeze. But the sun is out, and though the temperatures aren’t up in the 20s C. (80s F), it makes you want to get out and do things outside.
Of course, you can see Indian Summer days in a completely different way, and I’m ashamed to say I am guilty of this in the past. You can see those Indian Summer days as a sure sign that winter is on its way, and if you are “in love” with winter (the way I am NOT!), then it can be very depressing. This, of course, is because I tended to look at Indian Summer as a sign of what would be coming, rather than appreciating it for the beautiful day that it is. I suppose it is the “glass half-full/half-empty” kind of thing….
If you think about it, however, you realize that everything in life has both positive and negative sides. Those irritating optimists will always seek the positives in things, even if they have to dig and scratch and stretch, for in their minds, every cloud has a silver lining! And then there are the depressing pessimists. The ones who seem to have a black cloud hanging over their heads. They will find something negative in every situation!
Where do you fall on the optimist/pessimist continuum?
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be pretty optimistic about many things, but the moment troubles come my way, I definitely swing towards the pessimistic side…
I have to ask myself, however: Is pessimism the way Jesus envisions that we will live? Is that what brings us the freedom Jesus came to give us (SeeJohn 8:36)?
Not at all. The Bible tells us that when we become followers of Christ, God dwells within us: “and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16 NLT); and“Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.” (Rev. 21:3 NLT). The Psalmist also tells us that God’s presence doesn’t bring us pessimistic sadness. Rather, it brings us…joy! “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Ps. 16:11 NLT). In fact, we are told to not be sad: “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Neh. 8:10b NLT)
Of course, it isn’t always (or ever?) easy to choose to not be sad…, however, the Bible gives us some advice on how to achieve this:“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Phil. 4:8 NLT). This text gives us the feeling that we have the choice to be optimistic or pessimistic, and the way to undulate from one to the other has to do with controlling our thoughts! When we make ourselves focus on what is true and right and pure and lovely, etc., we will naturally begin to feel that joy of the Lord that He has promised us!
Could this be why Jesus tells us to not worry about tomorrow? “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NLT). Is this because He knows tomorrow will bring us problems and He wants us to focus on the joy in the moment?
Indian Summer? A beautiful day to be enjoyed? Or a sign that winter is on its way? I say, let’s make the decision to follow Jesus’ advice and live in the moment, focusing on the beauty of the day and leaving the worry about upcoming winter to God.
But let’s not limit this to Indian Summer days! Whatever it is you’re going through is no different! Let’s make the choice to follow Jesus’ advice in all of our situations! Let’s focus on what is good and leave the worry to the One who has the strength and love and desire to carry us through!
And I think I’ll go out and plant some bulbs today while the sun is shining. That way, when Spring arrives, it will be signaled by beautiful tulips and crocuses and daffodils in my yard!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.