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Church Signs V: How to overcome the 'Groundhog Day' blues

I passed by this road-side sign last week, and, boy, was it timely. Even though that longed-for summer vacation has been going for about a week, I’m already catching hints of the Groundhog Day blues. What’s that, some of you may be asking? It’s when every day starts the same, seems the same and ends the same. At first, this is a soothing and welcome routine compared to the hectic nature of end-of-the-school-year activity, but it can very quickly become, well, like Groundhog Day.

So, how’s a summertime stay-at-home mom to beat the Groundhog Day blues? Yesterday, 1 Peter brought this sign to mind and reminded me of a strategy. How’s that? Bear with me a bit.

An old habit of mine threatens to take over whenever I sense the whispy clutches of Groundhog Day approaching: I begin to imagine all those “if onlys.” If only my toddler was actually four or five instead of three, it’d be easier to do all those fun summer things, like go to the pool or zoo. If only we had a bit more money, we could actually do all those fun summer things. You get the picture.

But, somewhere in last 10 years or so, I realized it isn’t the circumstances that must change but me—and 1 Peter reminded me of that. The burly fishman writes (in Eugene Peterson's Message version) that “we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!” So, says Peter, “let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.” And “clean house!” and get rid of all those old habits (ok, he doesn’t say that last part verbatim, but that’s what I heard). Learn to think like Jesus: “Think of your sufferings [I realize that Groundhog Day blues ain’t exactly hard-core suffering, but humor me] as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

Ah. There’s the key. A way out from under Groundhog Day blues. It’s an opportunity, just as Paul also says in the part of Romans 5 (and that a rustic fisherman and an erudite former Pharisee would say the same thing is worth considering). It’s a chance to rest and trust in God instead of stewing in my own thoughts, feelings and desires to get my own way.

Here, faith meets life. Here, today (not tomorrow, with all its "if onlys") becomes “improvement day”—an opportunity to improve the way I live life, not by my own designs and plans but by God’s. And his ways are much easier than mine: rest and trust in Me and you will have an abundant life, My life—now.

And how will I rest and trust? I'll spend more time in the Word so that I get a better grip on reality. I'll spend more time talkling with and listening to God instead of my own thoughts and feelings. I'll make sure to confess and commit all this to my accountability partner. I'll make the choice to do things like these that God put in my control in order to cooperate with him as he changes me. That's his way, and it leads to more and more life (which is a heck of a lot better than feeling miserable.)

And that is how 1 Peter and a road-side church sign reminded me of the way to overcome the Groundhog Day blues.

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