This past weekend I gave a small devotional thought at the beginning of our worship time at The Gathering. I talked about how summer is a time of rest for a lot of us - at least we hope it will be! In my own life, though, I often get to the middle of July and realize that the summer has completely gotten away from me. Instead of feeling rested as I enter into the fall season, I feel worn out and in need of a break. Sound familiar? This summer, I hope you will be able to enjoy vacations with your family, lazy days by the pool, and maybe a bonfire or two with your friends - but don't get caught in the hectic summer trap that so many of us do this time of year. Here are a few ways I am committing to making this summer different:
1. Making Fun Part of the Calendar
It's a sad but true reality - If we don't schedule fun into our calendars at the beginning of summer, it likely will be something that gets overlooked. I've decided that at least 3 times in the next two months, I'm going to schedule something fun on my calendar. It could be a concert, a cooking class, a weekend trip to see my best friend, or a day set aside to hike. Whatever fun looks like for you - schedule it! Write it in your planner, add it as an event on your calendar... Do whatever it takes to intentionally set aside time to make sure you're having fun this summer.
2. Being Completely Present on Vacation
I'm 27 years old, so I'm just old enough to remember what life was like before smartphones and social media - before everyone had immediate access to you and before you spent all of your downtime scrolling through newsfeeds. "Life was simpler back then," people say. I'll admit, I am a fan of the Mayberry lifestyle, but I'm also a true millennial. I enjoy networking online, but I recognize that I've become addicted to the "never off" lifestyle. And I don't like it. Last year I spent my vacations uploading hundreds of pictures to Facebook, checking in every cool place I traveled, and making sure the world knew that I was having the time of my life. I wasn't able to detach from work for a week either. I was constantly checking my email and communicating with people from my job. I couldn't let go of the idea that something could be going wrong and I needed to quadruple cover all of my bases. This summer, I am committing to being fully present while on vacation. I may share a picture or two, but I will not spend all of my time on social media. I will delete the apps off of my phone, leave my phone out of reach, and I will turn off push notifications on my email. I want to enjoy my family and truly experience life with them, don't you? Jim Elliot said it best, "Wherever you are, be all there." Do whatever it takes to make sure you're fully present for your family this summer.
3. Finding Moments of Stillness
When I think about finding moments of stillness in the crazy, hectic nature of summer, I am reminded of two passages of Scripture: "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) and "He will quiet you with His love" (Zephaniah 3:17). I know for a lot of us, finding moments of stillness is almost laughable. How can you possibly find moments of stillness when you're chasing kids around the house, working two jobs, or taking those summer classes? I know for myself, this summer is packed with lots of scheduled events with places to go and people to see - it seems almost impossible to think that I will be anything other than exhausted come August. But I want to suggest to you that finding moments of stillness these next couple of months will be crucial to making the most of your summer. Find moments this season to quiet your heart and mind. Read that book you bought 3 months ago that's still sitting on your bedside table. Get up half an hour early twice a week to be quiet before the Lord. Take a drive through the country while listening to your favorite worship songs. Whatever it looks like for you - be sure to find moments of stillness this summer. I promise you, you won't regret it.
Hi! My name is Stephanie, and I'm the girl behind this blog! I'm a pastor and a writer and a lover of all things chocolate. As you browse the content on this page, I hope you find yourself encouraged and smiling. At some moments, perhaps you would even shed a tear or two. Most importantly, I pray you find hope in whatever season you're walking through. We are in this journey together, and my calling is to encourage you along the way!