I’m writing to you from somewhere along the highway between North Carolina and Pennsylvania. We’re on a family road trip for a hockey tournament in Hershey this weekend. So I’ll soon be wearing furry boots and shoving ALL the chocolate in my mouth. Hoorah!
Before we left the house, Tom noticed our crepe myrtle tree in the backyard. He had heavily pruned it a few months ago, but every place he had trimmed was now sprouting new growth. And not just a leaf or two. Several stems of vibrant, green growth had appeared at every branch that had been cut off. I took some pictures for you – they’re at the bottom of this post.
They reminded me so much of my thoughts over the past few months. I ditched the online world this summer. Not just because I needed the mental headspace to study some new places in the Bible. Not just because I needed extra time to shift my ministry focus to the rising seventh-grader who was at home with me every day over the summer.
I stepped away from the noise of the online world because intentionally seeking rest and renewal was a habit that Jesus pursued.
Although He was completely divine, Jesus laid His divinity down so that He might understand what it felt like to be fully human. Humans get tired. Jesus understands that. When we are tempted to think that no one could possibly understand how stressed out, exhausted, or weary we are, we can follow Jesus’ footsteps to solitude. In the midst of a busy day, one that required the constant pouring out of energy and knowledge and love, Jesus knew that in order to continue His mission He would have to stop and renew His strength.from my Bible study on Luke, Determined: Living Like Jesus in Every Moment
Here are some things I did this summer that helped recharge my batteries:
- I napped. A lot.
- I prayer walked. A lot.
- We took a family vacation.
- I visited old and new friends.
- I read new places in Scripture and had the time to dive deep into studying them.
- I started a new habit of handwriting out the books of the Bible I was reading. I think there’s a study on this somewhere, but the slow process of writing every word that I am reading makes it more real and easier to remember.
I started this summer feeling like an empty well. But I ended it feeling refreshed, full of new ideas on how to serve you, and thankful for a God who renews our empty spirits. Not unlike the crepe myrtle branches in my back yard, there are new things growing from the places I intentionally cut off. More on that in a later post.
Are you heading into the coming season feeling like an empty well?
Here are seven ideas on how to recharge your batteries, even though summer is over and even if you can’t take extended time off:
- Set aside one morning a week to turn off the digital world. Don’t check social media, don’t check your email. Don’t veg on Netflix.
- Make a playlist with your favorite worship songs. Play them first thing in the morning or right before bedtime. Or both!
- Spend time in nature.
- Journal your prayers.
- Invite a friend to lunch.
- Commit to reading a new book of the Bible.
- Make a list of the things that make your soul happy. Be intentional about pursuing one of those things this week.
The most important thing is to pause. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you can step off the hamster wheel when you need to and that Jesus is ready and waiting to refill your cup.
Next time I see you here, I’ll share with you some of the new things I started working on after I pressed pause. I was thinking about you when I put them in motion. (Want me to hand-deliver those things straight to your inbox? Let me know by signing up here.)
Until then, I’m rooting for you. Always.
Extra resources for your week:
I wasn’t totally silent this summer. I did write a guest post for my friend Michelle and record a podcast chat with my friend Amber. Tune in to both here:
- Four Practical Steps to Living Like Jesus in Every Moment, a guest post for Counselor Thoughts with Michelle Nietert
- Equipping Women for Courageous Living, Grace Enough Podcast with Amber Cullum