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Finding God in the Story of Your Life

Summer Simplicity

I was listening to my favorite morning radio talk show, and the hosts had people call in if they had already filled every weekend on their calendar for the summer.

In other words, they were so busy that they could not squeeze in one more social obligation until after Labor Day. Yikes.

Summer is a season that we somehow expect to be sort of laid back, relaxing. The problem is, it’s not.

What happened to lazy summers? Why do some people have their entire summer filled with activity? Why do we approach even our recreation as if it were a competitive sport?

I live in Chicago, where summer is short. You want to take advantage of the opportunity to get outside and enjoy these few short months of warm weather.  But that doesn’t explain the busyness.

Why would people call in to a radio show to talk about how busy they are? Because we equate busyness with importance. If you have a full calendar, you are significant. But come September, do you really feel more important as a result? Busyness sells us a bill of goods, but doesn’t deliver.

Significance is found in a sane rhythm of life, one in which we work, but also rest. And in that rest, we get to experience a profound truth: we are still loved even when we are not productive. By slowing down, we are able to notice God’s care for us. And we are re-energized for the work we do.

If you have kids, summer can easily fill up with camps, sports, and other activities. Working parents have to patch together camps and care, so these options for kids are necessary. But often, we moms sign our kids up for so many things, that we end up in the car most of the summer, driving them to various activities.

What if you gave yourself, and thepeople you live with, a simple gift: a bit of down time, a day of rest? What are you doing to simplify your summer?

7 Comments

  1. Every weekend through labor day??? Oh my.

    I’ve been taking our schedule week by week. My boys are only 7, 7, and 2, so I’m pretty much in charge of the calendar. I try to plan 2 or 3 activities a week — a playdate with friends, a trip to a museum or the zoo — and the rest of the time is open. If it’s sunny, we head to the pool in the afternoon after nap (we can walk — it’s in our neighborhood). The kids can play outside with the neighbors. We do crafts.

    And the toddler still needs a nap every day, so I’m making a point of having a daily “down-time.” The the toddler goes down, we all pick a different room of the house and curl up with a book for at least an hour. We all need the rest and the break from eachother.

    All of this to say, we’re ENJOYING summer! 🙂

  2. We only allow our kids to be involved in one activity so that our whole summer is not filled up. My children like 4-H. So we do those activities throughout the summer. They are not daily, weekly, but on certain days. We like to hang out at home and each day we have a down time. Needless to say we are enjoying summer as well.

  3. Tammy, thanks for stopping by. 4-H is great–we don’t have it near us but it’s a great program.
    I think the key is to have a balance between activity and “down-time.” And activities don’t have to be camps or classes you sign up for (and pay for). Many museums have free days during the summer, and libraries, park districts etc often have free programs. Setting limits on activities also helps kids understand the idea of limits–which is an important life lesson.

  4. Such a timely reminder, Keri. My life looks SO much different from how it did before reading BREATHE…forget the summers, my whole year was full of different activities for my baby, toddler, and me. Now the week looks busy if I have 2 or 3 things on the calendar! You’re an inspiration, as always.

  5. So true Keri! I have been saying NO a lot this summer. Kids grow too fast!
    Sue

  6. I have been saying “no” to several things this summer, in order to say “yes” to some others. This summer hasn’t been simple because of the effort I’m putting towards a certain goal, but I keep reminding myself in a few months the efforts will hopefully pay off. Saying “no” to a few things is helping me keep my sanity. But also I’m learning to take advantage of 2-4 hour periods, taking off work in the middle of the week to spend time with my nephews or go swim at my sister’s. It beats taking vacation all in a week or two and killing myself the rest of the time.

  7. I couldn’t handle having every summer weekend scheduled out. I’m a more ‘spur of the moment’ person, mostly because of back issues. I have a sister who schedules out, but that would make me hyper.

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