After successfully overcoming a long winter, including snow showers late into spring, many of us ache to finally be outside. To open the windows and doors of our house for fresh air, to tend our gardens, play 9 holes of golf or keep a watchful eye for the “pool open” signs soon to pop out in our neighborhoods and clubhouses.
It’s that blessed time of year where we lather in SPF and bask in the sweet sunshine. For many of us, the transition from spring to summer is the best of times, and perhaps the worst of times, as well. As we welcome May, we officially enter swimsuit season. Ugh.
Not many of us enjoy standing before the full-length dressing room mirror donning a skin-tight polyester-Lycra blend. Those who do, I imagine, fall into two categories: either they won the genetics lottery or they worked hard to like their reflection. Some work hard mentally and emotionally to love their skin as it is. Others work hard in the gym and the kitchen to sculpt their physic through nourishment and exercise.
Much like any transition or transformation in life, it requires sincere dedication and effort. Every swimsuit season, as I observe friends and family renew their gym memberships and return to strict diets, I consider how my faith might be different if there was a swimsuit season of the soul; a full-length mirror to see my heart’s reflection for Jesus.
What would I learn about my faith? What would I see in the reflection? Would my reflection compel me to do life differently, to live more holy?
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, urged small groups and classes of Christian communities to hold each other accountable with the question: “How is it with your soul?” To be a part of those early Methodist societies required the discipline of self-reflection on spiritual nourishment, growth and transformation. People had to take the time weekly to observe within their lives how they were truly feeling; how they were struggling or growing; if their hearts were warm; and if they were deeply in love with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As challenging as it may be for some of us to face our physical reflections, all of us as Christians should share the spiritual discipline of accountability, so that we may grow more and more holy. Holiness cannot come by our own efforts or actions, but rather our dedication to be in God’s presence. The more we sit with God, read Scripture, worship, cultivate Christian community and celebrate God’s redeeming work, the more God shapes and forms our spiritual lives. As the potter shapes the clay, God works to transform our lives—but this requires of us a dedication and commitment, as well.
May each of you experience the joy of the season and take the time to bask daily in the light of Son.