The Bible teaches there is a time and a season for “everything under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). God has built this into the very fabric of nature’s seasons as we observe the cycle of death and newness every winter and summer. Our churches experience seasons. And so do we.
I have violated God’s seasons in my leadership more times than I want to remember. Over the years, however, I have discerned a summer spirituality, or rhythm, that can be summarized in three words.
Receive. Summers are a time to do less and to be more. Providing leadership in God’s church is demanding. Our soil needs to be replenished. In summer, I read broadly (e.g. novels) and play more. Geri is taking an online course in spiritual direction in July and August. I am traveling to Philadelphia to visit with a long-term mentor. We are also attending a 2-day marriage conference integrating neuroscience and relationships. How might you slow down and create space to receive from God this summer?
Reflect. I have taken a 2-4 day retreat with God almost every summer for the last 29 years. I re-read my journal and look back at the past year for seeds God might have planted. I ask myself: What is it time to let go of in my personal life and in my leadership? What new thing might be standing backstage, waiting to make its entrance?
Reimagine. I let myself dream way outside of the box in summer. The following are a few questions that I ponder: What might God want me to do next year? What might be His number one priority? What was our single, greatest, unexpected success last year? Where was the greatest life from Him, the greatest consolation? How might there be an invitation from God in that?
I love Lynn Ungar’s poem, Camas Lilies, especially the lines — Gone to the fields to be lovely. Be back when I’m through with blooming.
Try it. The people you serve will be glad you did.