by Sylvia Gaston
Now that all the kids are out of school and the temperatures are on the rise, it’s time to enjoy the lazy, crazy days of summer.
Whether you have the entire summer off, a week or two, or even just a 3-day weekend here and there – there is great value in the practice of rest. Even God rested after creating the entire universe, Earth, and everything and everyone on it!
However, some of us take on summer like warriors – trying to cram as many trips, projects, activities and events as we can possibly fit into our available “time off”. We travel, paint our kitchen, renovate our yard, etc., etc. We come back to work exhausted and needing a vacation from our vacation.
How about this summer we plan some time to just rest? What?!? What a crazy concept!
We read in the Bible about a time when Jesus was teaching and performing miracles with His 12 closest followers. The Bible says, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” (Mark 6:31)
Doesn’t that sound so wonderful? Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.
But what would that look like, you may ask? What would I actually DO, you might ask? Here are only a few suggestions:
- Reconnect: Reconnect with family or friends. Invite someone over to play a game, watch a movie, or just catch up. Relationships are the most important thing we will leave behind when we die. Why not cherish them now as the most important thing we could ever do?
- Walk and Reflect: If you can find a beautiful place to do this, all the better but even a walk around your neighborhood can be enjoyable. Appreciate the outdoors that God created and give your mind a chance to wander and your imagination a chance to run free.
- Breathe deeply. Most people don’t breathe deeply and the benefits are numerous. Deep breathing calms anxiety, is a natural pain killer, relieves stress, promotes better blood flow, increases energy.
- Slow down: Do something leisurely that you used to enjoy. Are there things that you never have time to do? Bake cookies, read a book, exercise, paint or write. Just make sure it’s relaxing and enjoyable.
- Pray: When was the last time you took time to count your blessings. Yeah, I know, life can be hard at times – mine, too – but the good always outweighs the bad. Take time to really thank God for all that He has done for you and to appreciate all that is right in your world.
- Get to know God: If you don’t already attend church, try out one (or two) and learn more about this Jesus guy. If you already do, spend more time reading God’s word, the Bible. (PS-Find a version that’s easy to read and understand. You’ll enjoy it so much more.)
- Help others: It’s been proven that people feel so much better when they get outside their own world and help someone else. Serve at a pantry (Koinonia Church has one – wink, wink), cook a meal for someone, volunteer to babysit for a parent who desperately needs a break. You’ll be glad you did.
- Sleep in or take a nap: Enough said!
You don’t have to use anything on this list. You can create your own restful plan for whatever time off you may have from work or school.
No matter what you decide to do this summer, remember to do it with rest in mind. And remember what Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”