How to Slow Down Your Summer and Enjoy Your Life More

 

We’re home now.

Home to our yard full of dirt and grass and frogs for Sam to catch, and weeds for me to get to pullin.  There will be popsicles with the neighbor kids and evenings where we taste honeysuckle from the ditch and chase after fireflies and there will be bonfires with s’mores sticking to our chins. And we’ll take numerous trips to the beach, and just sit out in lawn chairs, visiting with friends.

I think I missed that part the most, while we were on the road. The part where you just sit still, outside somewhere, underneath a shade tree, with a glass of lemonade or sweet tea, and swat flies with someone you’ve known for years and tell stories and laugh.

The whole summer is laid out before us and I want to slowly drink it in. I don’t want it to pass by in a blur, you know, like summers often do, because they’re so cram packed full of busy and hurry.

We’ve been home a few days and we’re still unloading all our stuff from our trailer. I think everyone should have to completely pack, and then unpack their “house” twice a year. That’ll teach you to keep your life simple. That you really don’t want to drown in the weight of all your stuff.

So, this is a good time for us to pause and reconsider, “Do I really enjoy or need this stack of books? These papers? This pile of clothes? All these extra shoes? Are they adding value to our lives? Do I even have a place for them?” And then out it goes, or we put it in it’s proper place and try to maintain some kind of order around here.

When I got home, I had to give myself these chats. Because immediately, I saw all the projects. The streaked windows. The dishwasher that’s clogged. The washing machine that’s not properly working. The flower beds that are overrun. The cobwebs in the corners. And I could feel my blood pressure rising.

So, I talked to God about it, “God, I don’t want to try to control everything. I want to enjoy this life. This house. These things. My FAMILY!”

So, God and I walked around and I made peace with things. Peace with the mess. Peace with the walls. Peace with the kitchen sink that has a leak. “We will get to you, in time, house projects, but you will not control me.” I know it sounds cheesy, but I blessed my house out loud. And in so doing, my heart began to settle down in peace.

Because houses should not be places of constant conflict. Houses should be like nests. A holding place, where life is nurtured. Where the tender souls that dwell there, can grow strong and mighty and learn to use their wings.

And summertime shouldn’t be about scurrying and striving and stressing. Summertime is full of possibility. We can be restored as we take time to read a new book, or go on a walk with friends, or plant seeds and admire the way life always comes, with a little recipe of water and some basking in the sun.

I noticed when I got home, that I was seriously lacking in joy. I didn’t like this angsty person that I had become. So, I gave myself over to prayer. And I carved out some much needed time to sit still and faithfully read the Scriptures.

And somewhere along the way, God whispered into me, “Maggs, why don’t you write down all the beautiful things that mean something to you, each day. The things right in front of your face that you enjoy, and that touch you in some way.”

And I counted it up, that if I just write down ten things each day, then at the end of summer, I’ll have a thousand lovely things!

So, I began. I grabbed a pencil and a clean piece of notebook paper and scribbled it out, right there at the kitchen counter:

1. Brent’s momma coming over to play with the kids and so some weeding.

2. Getting to go to my friend, Victoria’s house, this afternoon. Us laughing at the chickens.

3. Dandelion tufts

4. Tall glasses of water

5. We have food, every meal

6. Learning about a new homeschool curriculum.

7.  Making sun tea!

8. Meeting our new neighbor.

9. God helping me relax about the house.

10. Coffee and Scripture on the couch.

I did that for a couple days, and no kidding, joy slowly but surely began seeping back into my soul. Life hasn’t looked quite as dull or felt nearly as hard these last few days. So, that’s my summer challenge to myself. Gratitude for 1,000 things.

This morning as I walked out into the world and around our neighborhood, I marveled at all the variations of life around me. I became almost giddy glad at all the things that God must love.

I mean, God must love all kinds of trees! Because He made over 60,000 different kinds of trees!

And God must love all kinds of grasses. Did you know there’s about 12,000 different kinds of grasses?! And God must love all kinds of seashells. There’s over 50,000 kinds of seashells! And God must love all kinds of clouds. Because whenever I look up into the sky, there are so many variations of clouds!

So, my friends. All this to say, I think this is how to make peace with our house and our projects and our life and how to keep from stressin’ out so much. I think there’s a way to slowly drink in the summer days that have stretched out before us.

We scribble down, if we must, a thousand things that God has given us.

We turn off the screens, and give ourselves to prayer–honestly talking to God about where we are and what we need.

And we dwell with Christ, here. He is with us here, while we stretch out the water hoses and make sprinklers for the kids. And while we invite our friends over for chats on the lawn. And when we stay up late into the summer evening and catch glimpses of the moon.

Our God is a glorious God, who loves alllll kinds of things! All kinds of people and all kinds of days, full of possibility. He doesn’t want His kids to worry and fret and miss the beauty around us.

So, here’s to unpacking our calendars of busy and hurry and jam packing them, instead, full of peace.

6 Comments

  1. by Jessica Magyar on May 26, 2018  9:36 am Reply

    So perfectly said! Challenge accepted...10 things I am grateful for every day! I will be taking your tips and trying to SLOW down and enjoy this summer GOD has blessed us with.

    • by Maggie on May 26, 2018  1:18 pm Reply

      Yay, Jessica!

      We're in it together. Blessings on your summer and slowing down to savor it.

  2. by Hillary Stewart on May 27, 2018  1:58 pm Reply

    Thank you Maggie! I am grateful for your timely words and God-given insight. What a gift your words are...thank you for always so beautifully sharing them. Blessings!

    • by Maggie on May 29, 2018  2:58 pm Reply

      Thank you, Hillary. I saw your blog launched! Beautiful work.

  3. by Sarah Welch on May 29, 2018  2:07 pm Reply

    Oh man.... This gratitude idea in Ann Voskamp's 1000 gifts was SUCH a blessing to me in spring 2015. Youll never regret it and my heart was blown away at ALL of the gifts I was missing...if only I had but lifted my eyes and a pen❤
    Cheers to the slow and steady of summer ????

    • by Maggie on May 29, 2018  2:58 pm Reply

      Yes! Ann Voskamp has inspired and helped me TREMENDOUSLY. SO thankful for her writing 1,000 gifts and helping us all along.

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