One thing can become both life giving and life draining depending on how we see it.
Summer is my favorite season. I long for the more relaxed schedule, the warmth of the air kissing my skin, and opportunities to engage with the beauty of vibrantly colored landscape dotting views. Living in the Great Lakes region, leaves one restless in those midwinter months. The long, cold, often icy days of hunkering down inside leave me holding on to a vision of sunny, carefree moments. The countdown to summer begins in March.
Yet, every May, I find myself tempted to cram as much into my summer months as possible. I justify it by recognizing that the busy schedules of the school year and the inclement weather make it hard to fit in excursions, connections with friends, and bucket list items.
But recently, I have learned to listen to God speak into the liturgy of my life. I haven’t felt renewed. In fact, I sometimes feel obligated to obey an agenda set by me that isn’t completely life giving. Why?
I have been convicted that many of the spaces that become filled in my days are a result of the little voice in my head that yearns for identity in my self induced “should” list rather than in my Creator. The items on my agenda are things that, in themselves, are life giving. But are they life giving to me right now?
Emily P. Freeman’s words in her book, “The Next Right Thing,” spoke into my struggle: “If you feel more like a robot with a to-do list in your hand than an artist with wonder in your eyes, stop. Close your eyes, open one hand in your lap, and put the other in your heart, and ask yourself, What am I longing for in this moment? What is life giving?”
So, this summer will look different for me. My goals have changed. As tempting as it is to fill my schedule with “shoulds,” I am leaving space. It’s a sign of surrender. It means things may get left “undone.” Connecting with some of my friends will have to wait. But I’m learning to be at peace with that and rest in God’s presence rather than my own. The path to renewal means recognizing when I need to move out of my own way.
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Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
There’s so much here should be undone,
but I’m still in there doin’ it.
Can’t say it’s any longer fun,
but cancer won’t have last writ.
It’s not completion that I seek,
and a lesson has been learned.
The laurels of vict’ry don’t bespeak
the glory that’s been earned.
And triumph, yes, there truly is
in choosing to go on
when failure’s foretold by analysis
and all the hope is gone.
I did not thus know, at the start,
’twas on the road I’d grow my Heart.
You are so right about those To Do Lists. My life is full of them. But which are God’s and which are ours? And should our focus be more on Being and Becoming than Doing?
Your phrase ‘the liturgy of my life’ reminded me of something I read recently: The Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. Have you read it?
Your FMF Neighbour #37
Yes. That’book has transformed my life in more ways than I can count.
Seeking Serenity and Harmony says
I feel like some of what you wrote could have come right from my own head. I need to follow your lead and leave more space in my summer. Thank you
I think more of us feel the tension than care to admit. That’s why I put it out there. I’m glad it resonated with you.