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Slowing Down

Hobbes lying under a tree: "You know what I like about summer days? They're just made for doing things ... even if it's nothing." Calvin: "Especially if it's nothing." Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes comics were my favorite. They always seemed to capture the reality of what it meant to be a kid. The imagination, the feelings, the struggles, the joys. This quote always stuck with me about summer. It's just made for doing things…even nothing…especially nothing. Summer is finally here *and all the school-aged kids cheer!* It brings me back to that feeling of when I was a kid. The last day of school was always my favorite. Fun last-day-of-school activities, games in class, cleaning out our desks or lockers, no more lingering assignments hanging over my head. There is just the sweet anticipation of summer break. I'd march out of school on that last day with a giant smile on my face ready for all the adventures awaiting me. There's something incredibly freeing about the arrival of the new season. Summer is the ideal season for grilling, vacations, lazy days, lying on a raft bobbing on the water, fishing and soaking in the sun. It's a season for having fun and slowing down. Now for many of us, this ideal picture of summer isn't our reality. Summer might be our busiest work season. For some the reality doesn't always live up the expectation. Sometimes it may feel lonely or boring at times. And many of us feel like summer is just too short when it's over. But summer reminds me of a popular verse in scripture that invites us into time when we're just doing nothing. In Psalm 46:10 God says, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46 reveals God's presence in world of turmoil. In trouble, natural disaster, when nations are in uproar and when kingdoms are falling, though wars, violence and chaos reign, God is with us. Through the chaos we see in our world, our natural response might be anxiety, a burning in our hearts to DO something leading us to want to rush into action. We may busy ourselves with activity to make us feel like we're making a difference. But God has a different message: "Be still." It runs contrary to the message our culture preaches that with enough hard work we can solve every problem. Instead, we're instructed to rest in God's presence. His voice makes the earth melt. He calms the seas and dismantles the weapons of war. God himself gives us the strength and protection we need. We're invited not to rush into action, but to rest in him. Now that our community is "opened back up", we may have already rushed right back into the busy activity of life without a thought to the importance of a slowing down. Many of us have served busily and faithfully in our ministries, some have spent countless hours in the fields of planting season, others have powered through the end of the crazy end-of-school season, giving the best of our energy to the many demanding tasks of this life. We equate busy with success. But to quote Pete Scazzero, we're human beings, not human doings. Being with Jesus is what truly equips our doing for Jesus. Maybe this summer is a healthy reminder to slow down so that we can be with Jesus, soaking in his presence like we soak in the sun's rays. Maybe it's the season for doing things--even nothing--to remember that Jesus has done everything for us. Happy summer everyone!

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