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"Summertime, and the livin’ is easy"

Posted by Bethany Nelson on

Summer is almost upon us and will bring with it a change of pace from the rest of the year. I used to think that change of pace was one of relaxation and slower, longer days. The living is supposed to be easy during the summer, right? However, as I look ahead to my summer this year, I am mostly filled with anxiety. I have a DMin class to take at San Francisco Theological Seminary. My family has not 1, not 2, but 3 weddings to attend – 2 of which I will be officiating. We will have what we call the “camp shuffle” each week as we figure out what to do with our son while he is out of school. Then, at the end of summer comes middle school orientation for him. Yikes! I already need a break from my summer.

When facing a schedule like this, I am reminded that Jesus, when he had his most busy moments, took time to get away from it all. For example, in Mark’s Gospel, just as people begin to hear about Jesus and “the whole city was gathered around the door,” we read that, “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35) Later, after feeding the five thousand, Jesus makes his disciples get on a boat while he dismisses the crowd. “After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:46) Jesus knows that in the midst of his very important ministry, he needs down-time. He needs time alone with God. He needs time to pray.

A few years ago, when meeting with a pastor colleague at the very beginning of summer, she told me that her goal for the summer was to play hooky as much as possible. When she saw the look of shock in my eyes, she explained that she was not going to shirk her responsibilities, but that she was also not going to do more than was needed. She planned to make it a point to not over-function during the summer (which was her usual pattern), but instead she would find times to rest, to rejuvenate, and to pray.

I find it interesting that she considered that very important part of her life “playing hooky.” As if taking the time to nurture her own body and soul somehow made her truant. I think it is quite the opposite. I think those times are a vital and necessary part of our lives. However, they are often easy to overlook or to skip entirely. But if Jesus made it a priority, so can we. Especially in the summer, a season that tends to lend itself to more spaciousness, what might it look like to slow down? What might it look like to include intentional time with God in your day? What might it look like for your living to be just a bit easier in the summertime?
In the midst of my busy summer calendar, I am going to include moments to get away – perhaps to a deserted place or to a mountaintop. I will pray, I will breathe, I will focus on the presence of the Spirit in my life. I hope you will find moments to do the same.

“Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10a



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