Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Restful Summer?

It is so easy to be swayed by others' demands or expectations (or even kind requests) of us. The more unscheduled time we have, the more available we appear to be to meet the needs of others or have our time be ordered by someone else. And before we know it, the summer is gone, we are exhausted, and unsure of where our time really went. And for some who have a difficult time saying 'no', this is very difficult. Your own needs seem secondary and without a voice. Am I saying to guard your time? Yes.

Am I promoting selfish behavior? No.

If Jesus said that the most important thing of all is to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor the same way we love ourselves. . . and if Jesus' example of loving a neighbor was the story of the Samaritan man who had mercy on the half-dead man who was left with nothing . . . and the Samaritan man took good care of him, bandaging his wounds, paying for treatment etc. . . . then, isn't it only right for us to learn how to take care of ourselves well so that we will know how to love our neighbor?

How are you taking care of yourself this summer? What do you need to do in order to greet September with a rested heart, mind, body, and soul?

Here is one idea you could try:

I made a simple checklist on my phone of important things that I can include every day regardless of my schedule. I've been using this for the past two weeks and it has been very helpful. If I neglect this list, I will be neglecting to care for myself which will result in less care toward others. . . and that matters to me.

The photo below is a portion of my list. Yours will look different and include the things that will refresh you. 

daily list
daily list

If you prefer paper, just make your own version. . . or a white board, or whatever works! The goal is to find something that helps you stay focused. It may change every year or season and that's okay. 

Be creative this summer and don't just brace yourself for a busy schedule, think it through and make choices that include care for yourself. It will make you much better equipped to care for others.