Vacations. Ice cream and apple pie. Baseball games. Swimming. Going to the Lake. Barbeques. Golfing.
Ah, the wonders of Summer time. My guess is that Summer probably means something a little different to each of us. But I’m also starting to guess that most people would add one more word to this list of words synonymous with Summer time.
BUSY! Maybe even crazy busy.
Because, in addition to all the fun that summer brings, it also brings with it extra stresses of preparing for, paying for and cleaning up after all the fun. Plus, there is grass to be mowed. Flowers to be watered. Decks to be resurfaced. Kids that are out of school and need extra attention. And before you know it, the list goes on and on and it leaves us crazy busy and tired. Bone tired.
A friend here at VU recently sent me an article (http://www.onbeing.org/blog/bone-tired-and-ready-to-be-bossed-around/6921) by blogger and columnist Courtney E. Martin. In this article, Bone Tired and Ready to be Bossed Around, Martin addresses this deep exhaustion that can to settle in the deepest parts of our beings. ”You’re in a fog of exhaustion where you can only see an arms-length ahead: reply to this email, return this call, drink this coffee, do this dish, survive, barely,” she writes.
This idea of being bone dry might be a new thought for you, but a fair number of us know that fog of exhaustion like an old glove. In some ways, it becomes our default and the additional summer activities (as fun as they are) often just add to the exhaustion. So, what’s the answer to these Summer time blues? Here are a few suggestions for enjoying the summer (or any busy season of life) rather than just surviving it.
- Let select people be bossy in your life and ask them for permission to do the same.
According to Martin, we don’t share the sadness of being overwhelmed because there’s no place for brokenness in our culture. And if we don’t share it, we certainly don’t ask for help when we need it. That’s why she says it’s important to have people in your life who can see your need and fill it – without asking and without you struggling to receive it.
Imagine the friend who calls and says I’m bringing over dinner tonight, or mows your yard while you are at work. Imagine taking your friends children for the night so she/he can have a date night with their spouse. Imagine how knowing you’re not alone and someone cares encourages your spirit and brings life to your dry bones.
- Don’t neglect the living water.
Summer is typically the season where small faith groups (both here and at churches) take a break, and in the process, the break breaks us. Those habits that draw us near to God are broken, not because we lose our love for God, but we lose the accountability of the group. As a result, the weeds begin to take over our garden and before we know it, we aren’t bearing fruit and are struggling not to wither on the vine.
Let Summer be a time to establish new habits. Try reading the Bible and/or praying outside in the morning. There is something about the sunrise and the birds singing that tangibly remind us of the truths in the scriptures. Try listening to music that connects you to spiritual truths. Download a Bible app on your smartphone and listen to the Word while you’re mowing the grass or lounging at the pool. Find new ways to keep you connected to the only thing that will ultimately keep you from getting bone dry in the first place. As David reminds us in Psalms 63, “Oh God, you are my God; earnestly I see you; my soul thirsts for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
- Don’t try to do it alone.
Find a friend, a coworker, or even your spouse and ask them to walk with you on this faith journey. Jesus didn’t do life alone. Not only did he have his 12 apostles, but he also had a close inner circle with whom he shared his fears and his tears. We would do well to follow his example, particularly during this time of year when we are so easily prone to a spiritual drought.
“I will put breath in you and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am Lord.” Ezekiel 37:6