The summer I was 16, we went to Yosemite National Park for our family vacation. My parents invited my sister and me to give input on what we would like to do and see while on vacation. Being an avid researcher, I scoured travel guides, read Yosemite tourist blogs and requested tourism literature from numerous California cities. I dreamed of whale-watching cruises, waterfalls, and Hearst Castle. I looked at breath-taking photos of Half Dome and Monterey Bay, and decided that we would just have to do it all. I didn’t want to miss a thing!
I submitted a 12-page itinerary down to the hour, detailing everything from lunch breaks to shower times, and offered to make all of the travel arrangements. My parents graciously agreed (and then probably regretted their decision later). For two weeks we hiked from one natural wonder to the next. We’d all snap photos, and then rush on to the next tourist attraction. Unfortunately, we were in such a frantic hurry for most of the trip that many of those places are just a blur in my memory.
Ironically, it was those few times that we stopped, truly sat, and beheld the wonder of God that the most memorable moments were made. In stopping, I truly began to see God, to appreciate his beautiful creation, and to better understand the God who chooses to personally reveal himself, both in his Word and in the world around me.
Slowing down. Appreciating the beauty around me. Being grateful for what I already have. Aren’t these things we all want? To live a life that is meaningful and intentional as opposed to rushing about as if life was an emergency?
I encourage you to look at summer as an invitation to slow down. Yes, the kids will still come home from college with a semester’s worth of dirty laundry, your husband will still have a list of home improvement projects for you to complete together on the weekends, and your inbox will still pile up with urgent emails. The commitments and responsibilities will always be there, and I don’t deny that they are important.
But you see, you and I, we live in today, and today is all that we have. If how I spend my time matters, then I want to make today count. I want my actions to align with priorities. If I say that I value God, my family, and developing a healthy rhythm of work and rest, then I need to do the things that advance those goals, not just say that I’ll get to them once this project is completed or that event is over.
That’s why this summer I am slowing down. I’m pausing and breathing deeply. I’m asking for eyes to see God’s fingerprints and ears to hear his voice.
I hope you’ll join me. Here’s to a summer full of rest, simplicity, and gratitude.