Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season Of Your Soul
By Mark Buchanan
“Summer is a foretaste of heaven. It’s a rehearsal of paradise, a preview of the promised land.”
Summer has always been my favorite season. I fondly remember the days chasing friends around my street, playing basketball at the park until darkness descended, and lazy afternoons reading in the grass. It is not as fun as an adult, but I do love the more laid back season with my family. We stay up later, go on vacations and are not done in by the rat race of activities the rest of the year seems to bring. Buchanan says that summer is restful even though you are not necessarily trying to rest. You experience God’s joy in the fullest.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I experienced a winter season of the soul right before my sabbatical (May of 2016). I was weary and feeling the strain of too much stress and the burden of ministry. My sabbatical was two months long and happened to be in the summer. My winter turned into summer as I learned how to rest. For 8 weeks I did next to nothing. I read my Bible on the porch, prayed, took long walks in the woods, sat by fires at night, and prayed some more. I accomplished nothing the world would say is good. Yet it was a beautiful time of learning how to Sabbath. Buchanan mentions another book of his called, The Rest Of God, which I wholeheartedly recommend if you have never learned to rest. There is a difference between “taking some time off,” and truly stopping your anxious activity and just enjoying the beautiful blessings of God.
The second of last week of my sabbatical was unique because my daughter Grace and I were left alone because Heather and Nathan were off to a Christian summer camp. I have a good relationship with Grace, but I was nervous because she had nothing planned and neither did I. We did so many simple things together that week; including prayer, a Bible study, movies, games, eating out and shopping. Grace will probably forget that week, but I never will. It was towards the end of the week that we were at a movie together and I had tears streaming down my face the entire time. I felt fully alive for the first time in months. God had healed me and I could sit there with my daughter and nothing else mattered. God is good. All of the time.
My prayer for you is to enjoy the summers of your soul. Buchanan is right to point out they are a taste of the coming kingdom. They are a shadow of what, we as Christians, will enjoy for eternity. Wow! We can easily ruin summer by trying to achieve too much or become worried about when it will end. Stop the frantic activity and the endless desire to achieve and simply rest in God’s blessings. Take a walk with your spouse or a good friend. Play a game with your son or daughter. Eat a long dinner and laugh a lot. The point of summer is to play, rest and know that God is good. All of the time.
Write a paragraph or two about your own summers of the soul. What advice would you give others who are in summer? What other thoughts or questions do you have from the reading?