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When I was a child, summer seemed like an eternity -- one lazy day after another of sunshine and swimming and sleeping in. Now that I’m the grown-up, it seems to fly by in a flash. A few weeks of swimming lessons, baseball games, neighborhood get-togethers and BAM: Fall is here again.
Every once in awhile, my Creator reminds me to slow down. He speaks to my heart:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV I stop hurrying (why am I in a rush anyway? It’s summer! The perfect time to slow the pace!) I take a deep breath, look around, and allow a deep sense of gratitude to fill me…
Slowing down these days is easier said than done, but it’s possible! And when we’re intentional about it, we’re able to be more present in the moment. When we’re present in the moment, we’re able to discover all the beautiful details God has provided for us to enjoy. Our hearts can’t help but give thanks!
If you’re into equations, here’s what that looks like:
Slowing -> Presence -> Gratitude
Are you in need of a Summer Slow-Down? If so, here are a few ideas:
Back to Nature
The psalmist says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1 NIV Nature is like a never-ending love letter from our Creator, and summer is a wonderful time to read it! Each season reveals something new and beautiful, if we only take a moment to look around. Take a prayer walk or bike ride with the sole purpose of noticing and giving thanks for the beauty God has surrounded you with. Even in the city, there are vibrant signs of life that reflect his handiwork.
Unplug and Reconnect
This may be the most difficult (but the most necessary) thing for many of us today. Close the laptop. Silence the phone, even for a few minutes. Instead of looking for joy or fulfillment on the screen, stop and receive what God has for you right here, right now. Look at the people around you, wherever you are -- the park, the grocery store line, the office. Really look at them. Give thanks for all the beautifully different lives God has created. Or maybe you’re at home and there’s a little one trying to get your attention. Let them show you that new discovery; watch them blow bubbles or run through the sprinkler; wave down the ice cream truck this time, and share some sticky sweetness. Remember: when we’re staring at our screens, we’re only half living. Children can help us find joy in the moment if we’ll do our part by unplugging, even for a little while.
A deep breath sounds so simple, but how often do you really stop to take one? Pause right now, breathe in slowly for six seconds and out for six seconds (Make sure the air fills your belly!) Can you feel how it calms your body? Just as God gives us peace in our spirits, he gives us ways to calm our bodies too. Place a little reminder somewhere to take a few of these breaths each day. Before you know it, you’ll have the habit of stopping regularly to refresh.
Change it Up
Routine and repetition are two things that can steal our attention from the blessings in our daily lives. We become so used to taking this road, looking out that window, eating this breakfast, or seeing that familiar face, we start to miss what God is doing right in front of us. Why not take the long way home from somewhere this summer? Visit a Farmer’s Market and taste a few things you’ve never tried before. Maybe look out your kitchen window with new eyes. Focus on what has changed since the last time you really paid attention. See where God shows up in unexpected ways.
There are so many ways to savor His blessings this summer! Why not start by making a list of your own –- not another boring “to-do” list -- but a GET- to-do list! Get excited about the possibilities and see what adventures God has in store!,
Need ideas on how to combine faith with fun this summer or looking for ways to create a summer to remember? Read more summertime articles to find even more encouraging and inspirational ideas to help you #liveyourfaith this season.
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