The words I write this week are more for myself than for anyone else. I have this need to fill every moment of our summer with activities! We must take the kids to the ballpark, swimming, camping, to the lake, to a parade, out late to watch fireworks. If I do not check each of these items off of the summer “to-do” list I have failed as a parent!!
This usually means we run from one activity to another – never stopping to rest, allowing time for reflection, or letting the simple enjoyment of each others’ company be acceptable summer fun!
We had a weekend like this recently – running everywhere, doing everything. It was fun – don’t get me wrong! We shared laughter and smiles. But as I look back on our time together, my very favorite part was on Sunday morning; before coffee, before acknowledging the glaring sunlight. As we each awoke, we crept into my son’s room and climbed onto his new full-sized bed in his new Star Wars themed big-boy bedroom. After some time, we were all cuddled together – 60 pound mutt dog included – sharing a half-awake moment of peace and uncomplicated bliss!
Sometimes to find real peace and joy we need to allow ourselves time to pause.
Finding this space and time for peace and rest in this busy world is critical. Even more critical is to allow God to be present in that time. When I am left alone with my own thoughts and God is NOT present, I fill my mind with planning, fear and feeble attempts to control life. With God I find a far deeper and more complete peace than I could ever obtain on my own.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
There is a Lutheran church located about a block from my office. Every Tuesday at noon they have a Taize-style service. This type of worship is peaceful and reflective, and involves simple chants, prayer and meditative silence.
This 30-minute service is blocked out in my calendar every single Tuesday, and I greatly enjoy the time to step away from reality and let God enter in. Yet too often I find some excuse at 11:50 on Tuesday for why I cannot escape the office. This last Tuesday was particularly stressful at work as I tried to wrap up big deadlines; I was grumpy and I was very tired. But I had arranged to attend the service with my husband that day, so no excuses!
This time of rest and meditation was just what my soul needed! When I chant the words: “Give to us your peace, O Jesus Christ” 50 times, the distractions float away, and I can sincerely ask and receive that deep, calming peace. Paul writes to the Romans, and I think speaks to us:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
I must be clear here – living securely in God’s peace does not guarantee a perfect life. It simply means that you can be content to just “let God” and have the ability to give to God fears and control.
Summer is drawing to a close. Seasons of life are passing by in a blink. This is a reminder to myself – just pause! Pause and just be with your kids; be content with cuddles and laughter. Pause and let God in; allow yourself to be filled with God’s peace!!