No matter what stage of life you are in, summer is a time when we are conditioned to think about slowing down. Even if it’s been a long long time since we were in school, we all remember that feeling of excitement on the last day of school, with the whole wonderful lazy summer ahead of us.
Something inside us still tells us that summer should be the time to:
- Lay in a hammock under a shady tree reading a book
- Hang out at the beach or lake or river just playing
- Drink a glass of lemonade or sweet tea while we watch the kids play in the sprinklers or pool
- Lay on a blanket at night in the backyard looking at the stars
- Take a vacation somewhere away from school and jobs and laundry and all the other things we fill our calendars with during the school year
- Turn off the television/iPad/Playstation/etc and go in the backyard to catch fireflies
Stop, Think, and Make Sure
However you spend this summer, I hope you will include some time to reflect on how your life is going, in whatever stage of life you are in. It’s so easy for us to get so busy that we end up living our lives on auto-pilot, simply doing whatever the next thing is that has to be done. Summer is a great time to stop, and think, and make sure that we’re really doing the things that are most important to us.
Get Away by Yourself
Try to find some time this summer, even if it’s just a few hours, to get away by yourself. If it can be longer than that, awesome. For the first time in my life, this summer I’m going to go to a hotel on a beach, completely by myself, for three days! Dave will be away at a conference in SoCal so I’m going to use that time to get out of the house (where laundry, cleaning, gardening… call out to me!) and just be alone with God.
Give Some Thought to What’s Most Important
As you find your time alone, I would encourage you to use that time to think about all the different responsibilities & relationships that fill up your life – spouse, kids, job, school, exercise, friends, God, chores, church, community, etc etc. Make a list. It will probably be a lot longer than you think it will be! Then think about which of those things are the most important to you, and the most important to God.
Hint – the ones that only you can do should be at the top of your list! For example…
- If Dave is going to have a good wife, I’m it
- Our church could have a different pastor, but Dave is the only dad our kids have
- No one else can have a relationship with God for us
A number of years ago Dave and I came to understand that principle, and it has made a huge difference in our lives, and our family, and our schedules over the years.
When You Need to Make a Change
As you look at your list, are you giving the things that are most important top priority with your time and attention? If not, spend some time thinking about what you need to change so things will be different. Ask God to help you figure that out. Then ask Him to actually help you make those changes in your life.
May the lazy days of summer provide the opportunity for you to refocus your life and your time on the things that are most important.
by Bernice Gudgel