Friday, 22 May 2015

Summer time and the 'livin' is ....?

I love the summer and always imagine that THIS year the ‘livin’ really will be easy, and THIS year I’ll live at a totally different pace.Church activities slow down and I'm naively convinced that I'll become a new and different person as I focus on areas of discipline and productivity that I haven't had time for in the busyness of winter. And then, before I have really got a grip on things, September is here and the harvest of summer intentions fulfilled is pitifully small.
There are a couple of verses in Jeremiah 8, which come to mind every year, haunting me with their wistfulness.
The Message puts it this way.
‘The crops are in, the summer is over, but for us nothing has changed. We’re still waiting to be rescued.
Do you battle with procrastination, or try to juggle far too many plates? Perhaps you smile wryly at the thought of having more time in summer. Certainly if you have children at home for the long school holidays, summer can seem busier rather than more relaxing.  But there is something about sunshine and a different routine that makes change seem a little more possible.  The secret seems to be that if you identify where you want to see change, and make 'that main thing the main thing', without allowing yourself to be distracted by the guilt that can come from neglecting other things, a harvest is possible .
I'm not saying that this is easy. Our church is preparing to launch out into a number of new community projects in the Autumn and as usual my mind threatens to run riot as I think of all the things I could contribute too.  But this is where I have to shout ‘STOP!’ , by approaching this summer in a different way realising.

1.    I am NOT Wonder Woman, nor do I need to be! Gordon is much more of a realist than me, and when I come up with my cunning plans for squeezing my ‘gallons’ into a pint pot he points out that there are only 168 hours in the week no matter what we do (and during a third of those we should be sleeping!) So although I think I’ve come up with all sorts of clever solutions, I’m actually just ‘moving the deckchairs on the Titanic!

2.    Bearing this in mind, I’ve promised that I won’t say ‘Yes’ to something just because it’s a good thing or even a great thing, because it may leave me exhausted and unavailable to do the few things that God has truly caused me to do.

3.   Before I commit to anything, I will ask God whether this is one of those exceptional things that He really wants me to do. People who want you on their team, speak in a LOUD voice, often drowning out His still small voice. So I may need to assume that unless He smacks me in the side of the head and makes it clear, [as He has done on really important matters in the past] He doesn’t want me to do it.

4.  Less  is more. I know that concentrating the sun's rays through a small piece of glass can start a forest fire, but I find 'making this 'one thing my one thing' is SO hard. Being blessed with a fertile brain and more ideas than I know what to do with, I hate to say ‘No’. But God has showed me that at the root of it all is the dread disease of  ‘FOMO’ – Fear Of Missing Out. It is His desire for me to grow and change,and when I have listened to HIS plan, and truly put my summer in His hands, He won’t allow me to miss anything good that is part of His loving plan for my life. 

About the Author

Marion Stroud has written 26 adult non-fiction books,some of which have been translated into 14 languages. She writes bible reading notes for Our Daily Bread and her latest book of prayers for women is called 'It's Just You and Me Lord'. It is published in the USA by Discovery House and in England by Monarch. Marion is represented by Mary Keeley at Books and Such Literary Management. Find Marion on her website


  1. What a great post. It made me think and I agree we need to slow down and put ourselves in God's hands

  2. Sounds like it's a good thing you live with a realist!! Mine's the same - I call it 'pouring cold water on all my plans' but in the end he's usually right.

  3. I make this mistake every summer as the school holidays approach. A great reminder to listen to that still, small voice instead of charging around to no avail. Great post. Thank you Marion.

  4. That was very helpful. Thank you.

  5. Love this post Marion. I struggle with too many ideas and too little time too, but the rhythm of summer for me means less writing and more family time, with kids off from school. But even looking at the list of half-term goals we have is overwhelming - need to dial it back and rest in God...