Something deep inside me wants to scream, “But I haven’t even had a break!“
This phrase has haunted me recently as I hear similar refrains from other moms. Summer has barely begun, and yet it is almost over. As July 4th passes, the shelves are stocked with school supplies, our social media feeds are filled with curriculum and lesson plans, and the calendar spaces quickly fill.
We just want a break.
This panic that settles in my heart is an annual occurrence. Temptation calls me to see my failures: We didn’t pick strawberries or blueberries. I don’t recall sipping lemonade with sliced lemon garnishes. An unusually rainy June has limited our pool time. Have we really savored our summertime?
The Art of Lingering: A Summertime Invitation was my attempt last year to offer permission for us to slow down and focus on the truly important. That was me telling my heart to refuse to panic.
Yet I find myself in the same place again.
What about you? Is your heart unsatisfied with the break you have had with your family this summer?
As I hear many of us longing for more of a break, I wonder about the real problem. Did we expect a season of abandoning responsibility? Perhaps a little, but that’s not quite it. Do we expect a vacation to solve the sibling woes at home? No, we know it is not that simple.
Perhaps the problem is that we’re willing to settle for something far less than what God has in store for us.
Like the child content to play in a dirty puddle yards from the ocean, we think a break is what our hearts desire. Jesus offers us true rest, and we are willing to settle for a mere break. I think Jesus would tell us to refuse to settle. Pursue the rest we really want. Will you join me in this pursuit?
“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
These things that make for peace? That’s what I want to savor this summer!
Our summer bucket list was full. We were going to play pool games, make popsicles, watch movies, bowl for free, eat ice cream sundaes, catch lightning bugs, sleep under the stars. One of my little adventurers even added skydiving. My expectations are high, but by July, I realize my follow through is often low.
Efforts to control our break leave me anxious and frustrated.
There is a better way.
“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
Position yourself for rest through Surrender. Let go of those anxieties. Surrender to the unexpected. Surrender to the failed plans. Surrender to the moments that just happen. Jesus cares and will give you rest.
During the school year, my rhythm of rest tends toward: push, push, push, crash. School. Dinner. Appointments. Activities. Church. Cleaning. Then come moments when I feel I just can’t get off the couch.
Stopping by crashing does not provide rest for my heart.
There is a better way.
“Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.'” Mark 2:27
Pace yourself for rest with Sabbath. Summertime allows opportunity to reset patterns to carry through the year. The pattern of Sabbath is simple: Six on. One off. Leave the work undone and trust. Then your heart has space to receive rest.
My bucket list of summer plans did not include quarrels and disagreements. But they came anyway. If I aim for a mere break, I would avoid seeking resolutions with the people around me and hope the conflicts will disappear.
Avoidance of conflicts leaves roots of bitterness that prevent rest.
There is, yet again, a better way.
“(God) reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” II Corinthians 5:18
Foster rest with others through Reconciliation. Our reconciliation to Jesus is complete, but we should never stop pursuing Him. We should never stop pursuing our children and others to restore and reconcile relationships. It takes work but brings great peace.
I love to get lost in a good book. You know, the kind you don’t have to think to read. But words and actions surrounding me reminded me that I still must be a parent. How can I take a break when I must intervene for corrective training?
A frustrated response stifles all possibility of rest among us.
There is a better way.
“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25b
Cultivate rest in others through Affirmation. Intentionally offer words to build up your children, husband, and others. You will find it not only cultivates restful hearts in them, but you will be refreshed also.
Savor God’s Presence
I begin summer with intentions for our break but grow restless with unmet expectations. I try to create rest for my heart by creating a break in my schedule. Yet I find myself unfulfilled.
Creating a mere break will only provide temporary rest.
With God, there is always a better way.
“My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
Receive rest in God’s Presence. We can position ourselves for rest by surrendering, pace ourselves for rest through honoring the Sabbath, foster rest in relationship with others through reconciliation, cultivate rest in others and ourselves through affirmation.
But true rest only comes by walking daily in God’s presence.
Rest is a gift to be received rather than created.
This summer, refuse to settle for a mere break.
Pursue true rest in God’s presence and savor every moment of your summer.