Plymouth Park UMC Staff Blog

July 17, 2017: As We Rush Through Summer, Finding Some Time to Slow Down

July 17, 2017

Audrua MalvaezTime Moves Slowly, But Passes Quickly

It’s July. How in the world is the summer half-way over? School supplies are already making their way to shelves, and families are soaking in the last few weeks of summer before activities pick up again. The last six weeks of baseball, road trips, and family cookouts have created new memories and given us plenty of joy.

On Sunday as I walked around, stood on the sidelines and assisted in worship, I saw so many of our young people growing into their own. Eliel, who was a stumbling toddler just a year ago, is walking confidently, pulling his brothers towards all of the exciting things he’s seeing in the church. Trevor, I swear, has grown six inches this year and is looking the part of a high school freshman, and his brother, Aaron, has come into his own as a confident young man, ready to face his senior year. Hannah is going to be in the youth group in just six weeks, and with her will go Ryan and Diego.

Since when did time pass so quickly?

For years, I’ve bought into the idea that summer is a time to slow down, to rest and recuperate. But I look around and I see camps and trips and tournaments — just a different kind of busy than what usually follows us during the school year. When do we allow ourselves to stop, breathe and rest in the moment?

At the beginning of June, I went on the High School Mission Trip, which served as the final baton pass from myself to Katrina. I got home after an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling time and found my schedule thrown off. My sleeping habits were funky as I tried to restore some of the sleep I had lost on the trip. I couldn’t find my routine and I felt off. For a couple of weeks, I struggled to get back into my workout routine, to get back into my quilting, to learn the new music for my chorus and to stay focused on anything.

Have you ever had that off feeling before? Where you’re just not feeling yourself and everything just seems … not your “you”?

In Scripture, after Jesus has had a particularly brilliant (and probably exhausting) miracle, like the feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew, he takes a time out. Matthew 14:22 says, “When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray.” Even the Messiah needed time to reflect, to slow down and breathe.

One of the many reasons I love quilting is because it gives me a creative outlet. One of the many reasons I get frustrated with quilting is because you can’t do anything quickly, unless you want to do it over a million times. For me, quilting is a spiritual practice, a ritual in which I must slow down, reflect and take time. As I make quilts for new babies and new marriages, or to mourn the loss of a loved one or relationship, I use the time stitching to say prayers over the person who will receive it. I have a chance to think about the way their life has impacted mine, to the point where I’m making them a quilt that they can hold on to and love for years to come.

Time passes so quickly. Before we know it, the pseudo-lazy pace of summer will be gone, replaced with bus stops, tests and extracurricular activities.

How have you slowed yourself down this summer to take in God’s glory and reflect on the people you’re spending time with? What practices are part of your daily life that create time to breathe? If that’s missing, where will you add that in now and take it forward into the new school year?

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Micah 6:8

...what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?