While traveling this weekend to the Smoky Mountains I was reminded of Jesus in John Chapter 6. He does this awesome miracle of feeding the five thousand and then it tells us that he "...withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone." afterward He goes on to walk on the water and rescue the disciples. I love the picture of Jesus creating balance in his life and ministry here on earth by time and time again pulling away for short periods, for the purpose of refueling his soul. He goes with such intensity meeting the needs of all those around Him and then all of a sudden He "retreats by Himself" and reconnects with His mission, His heavenly Father and refuels His soul to press on in excellence.
I think we can take a lesson from Jesus' example. We need to "go to the Mountain" and take those breaks so we can be the best we can for our families and to serve God and those around us with excellence. I know the temptation to run full steam ahead into planning for next year and then all of a sudden, you run out of summer and before you know it the next school year is starting. (I did that last year!) I didn't want to make that mistake again this year and I encourage you to refresh yourselves as well this summer. Plan at least one thing for yourself, in a way that creates refreshment for your mind, soul and spirit!
Here are some suggestions for this summer to take a break and refresh your soul:
1) Travel - Take a day trip or longer to someplace you would really enjoy like the beach or mountains. Plan it with friends and leave the kiddos behind for this short siesta!
2) Read - pick up a book that is purely for pleasure. Books on the Trivium don't count. LOL
3) Walk - Carve out a day to go for a walk early in the morning while the day is fresh and new. Appreciate what God has made and take time to worship during your walk as you inventory all you see.
4) Just say NO - it's OK to not sign on for that extra swim class this summer or take over the Church's welcoming committee while you're on "break".
5) Make a non-utilitarian friend - Find someone who you appreciate as just a friend and for no other useful purpose.
6) Laugh - Rent a funny movie, go to a clean comedy show or read a book on jokes! Just laugh!
7) Find a Spiritual Mentor - seek out someone who can give you a deeper perspective on your walk with God providing encouragement to your soul.
8) Pick up a Hobby - always wanted to learn piano? Been meaning to try out that new fishing pole you bought three years ago? Then do it! :)
9) Start a Prayer Journal - if you don't already do this, then I encourage you to. You'd be surprised at how much you forget when you don't write it down! God's faithfulness will encourage your soul.
10) Date Night - make sure you have a date night or two this summer! It can be with friends or with your spouse. Just take time to step away and and not worry about what the kids menu has on it or what movie is rated G!
I hope you will take time this summer for yourself and rejuvenate your soul! You'll be a better Teacher for it....I promise!