I love summer. I love the warm weather and I love being outside every minute I can. I love the long days and the beautiful flowers blooming. I love our garden and picking from it for our evening meals. I love the rhythm of summer where life just somehow seems to slow down a bit.
As we move into fall, I’ve been enjoying the cooler weather and the hint of colors changing in the leaves. But with the fall, the margin in my schedule gets smaller, and I feel pushed and pulled toward busy-ness.
Maybe you feel it, too.
I realize that in my life I am in a continual cycle of a desire to slow down and “smell the roses“ as they say. I do slow down and yet life just seems to tempt more and more busyness. When I think about Jesus, I realize, he was never in a hurry. He was thirty years old before he started his kingdom ministry on this earth, and only had three years to do it. And yet he was completely tuned into his priorities – the love and intimacy of his father, his relationships with his disciples, and his purpose to bring the good news to everyone he met. Nothing distracted him. I wish I could say the same.
It feels like my desire to slow down and live the life I want to, connecting with God and with others and doing my life purpose, is continually challenged. It is challenged by distractions, temptations, and compulsive behavior of many kinds. I can feel like I have to prove my worth by doing more. I can feel like I have to prove I’m a loving person by compulsively responding to people‘s needs. I often find it hard to trust that God actually will take care of those I love, I don’t need to do it all.
Jesus trusted God for himself and for everyone else as well.
It’s pretty amazing to realize that Jesus began his ministry with 40 days in the wilderness where he was confronted by the enemy. And he conquered! He did not allow the enemy to have his way. I want that in my life! I’m getting more in touch with the fact that the push and pull toward hurriedness isn’t just a minor temptation I feel, it is a very real and very critical spiritual battle, and Jesus is right there with me to fight it.
I want to continue to choose to slow down, to not give into compulsive behaviors, to love well but with freedom. As Jesus did, I want to choose more and more to go to the “mountain” to pray and find the strength to live the life God wants for me.
One evening this summer my husband and I were sitting out in our backyard, intentionally seeking quiet and the time to take in the beauty of God’s creation. After a time of sweet quiet, while we were still sitting at the height of the early evening, we looked up to see this beautiful owl sweeping 10-feet over our heads. It was astounding. We both just took a breath, looked at each other, and were grateful for the moment. Thank you, Jesus.
God designed the seasons, and summer gives way to fall. As it does, I can say goodbye to summer, but that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to my longing for beauty, stillness, and connection with God. So this fall, even if it means spiritual battle, I want to practice sitting with Jesus in the sweet quiet he has for me in this season.
Do you long to slow down? How might Jesus be inviting you to do that? What’s one active step you can take to respond to his invitation?