The air in July seems to be filled with the music of birds and the hum of insects. We hear the happy sounds of picnickers, boaters, golfers, fireworks, kids splashing in the pool, and concerts in the park.
It’s a celebratory time, a time when many people take vacation or welcome visitors from afar or young adults home from college. We think of July as a fun time, a time for rest and relaxation, a time for leisure. It’s important to be a good steward of the wonders of summer, a good steward of our time of rest and renewal, a good steward of leisure. A time to recharge our batteries is all part of leading a healthy, balanced life. After all, we recall that Jesus advised his disciples to “. . . go off to a secluded place and rest” (Mark 6:31).
Stewardship calls us to nurture and care for God’s gifts which include taking care of the gift that is ourselves. So, make leisure a priority this July. Simplify your activities and focus on relationships, resting, recreating, and enjoying the beauty of God’s world. Ease up on planning the perfect party or barbecue and instead focus on the fun of everyone chipping in to spend time together. Give yourself space to be alone in the midst of summer’s fun. Be healthy in eating and drinking. Long walks at dawn or dusk and plenty of exercise will aid both your body and your spirit, as will enjoying the wealth of summer’s bounty and the produce of our gardens and farmers’ markets. Consider activities that add variety to our lives and relationships. Make time for those books piling up on the bookshelf. Do something out of the ordinary. Plan a long lunch with an old friend, or enjoy jazz “on the green.” But don’t add heavy burdens of preparation and commitment. Scale down. Relax. Let go. Be spontaneous. Be a good steward of your leisure time. Bask in the glory of summer’s long days. This will not only prove restorative but will reveal more acutely the blessings of God’s creation and help us discover in new ways the wonder of our loved ones and ourselves.
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