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watch the puffy clouds

Summertime…ever lay in the grass and look at the clouds and see all kinds of shapes and outlines as they grew, changed shape, and rolled into other puffy figures? Remember the smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of neighborhood lawn mowers? When is the last time you sat down on the back patio and watched where an ant marched to so purposefully? Yeah…probably not recently, if I could guess. We are super…BUSY!

It seems so trendy now to respond to how a person is doing with a short, “busy” or a variation of this. Are we really meant for all this? Somehow I think that the enemy likes to distract us with busyness to keep us away from what really matters. I can certainly speak for the middle Tennessee area when I say it is difficult to keep up with people, vacations, hauling kids to practices, attending meetings, or stuffing fast food in and wiping the crumbs off the seatbelt. Well, I actually do not keep up (wink). Not to mention the mental stress of feeling the need to BE the best…you fill in the blank! Pressure to be the best worker, the best mom, the best wife, the best dressed, the most put together, the most productive, the best student, the most educated, have the most decorated house, or whatever the case may be.

After a recent trip passing through a town in Kentucky, we stopped to eat supper and I noticed two moms and a teenage daughter eating outside at a patio table, playing Uno. I suppose I noticed because I have not seen people sitting and simply playing cards and enjoying company in…I don’t remember when! As a graduate of a Kentucky university, I loved cliff-jumping into the river, climbing rocks, and having picnics in the gorgeous mountains. I find myself with my Type-A, Enneagram Type 1 personality analyzing my to-do lists and staying on top of every task to be accomplished each day. For my driven people out there, I get it, it is tough to simply stop for a moment!

I have enjoyed the break this summer from several activities that will start back as school starts. I enjoy summer break from school as much as children do! I have been evaluating what are necessities for me and responsibilities I may not need. I also like to remember that even if I let a position or opportunity go now, it might not be forever, just for this season of life. I hope that helps lessen some stress for you girls who are driven for success and never stop for rest!

From a counselor perspective, there is no need to haul kids all over town each day if it stresses you out or your little ones out. Let them free play in the backyard and chase a grasshopper, climb the tree, and dig in the dirt. If they are older, let them read outside on the lounge chair and wash cars with friends. This is truly how they grow, learn, and progress.

From a counselor perspective, there is no need to join every club or organization possible if it stresses you out. Rest time is a wonderful use of time. God showed us the example of a rest day when He completed His work and rested on the seventh day of Creation (Genesis 2:2-3). He actually called it holy as He rested from His creativity. Although He did not require rest, He showed us our earthly bodies definitely need a rest day from our work.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 4:8

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O, Lord, make me live in safety.

One sign we are at peace is whether we can give our worries to God and sleep peacefully knowing He is our loving Father capable of handling every tiny detail. Do you have some unnecessary responsibilities that weigh on you? It is okay to say NO to stress and No to busy. Maybe some tasks can be taken up again at a later time. I have found it helpful myself to write out each day of the week with regular weekly tasks under each day so I can visualize where I am spending time. From there I crossed off tasks that I can release. Merely crossing these off and seeing the empty space during days of the week has taken stress off my shoulders. I pray you can find time for peace and rest this week.

I will be back next time with some hints for those who feel overwhelmed!



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