Who doesn’t love summer? Sunshine, flowers, pool, beach, and vacation (to name just a few highlights)!
Summer is also a time when many of us hone our gardening skills. For me, I love to plant tomatoes. They go in the ground as small plants, and before I know it, they have grown into fruit producing bushes! Unfortunately, tomatoes are not the only things to grow in my gardening beds. Those pesky weeds are constantly trying to sneak in and steal nutrients from the soil. If I don’t stay on top of removing the weeds, my tomato plants will suffer, and I won’t get to harvest or enjoy the fruit.
For most educators summer is a time to rest, a time to rejuvenate, a time to prepare. It’s a time to water the seeds we planted during the year, and a time to plant new seeds. It’s also a time to clear out the weeds.
I have never met an educator that wasn’t busy. Even 30 years ago educators were busy. I can remember thinking at the end of my first year of teaching that I was going to burn out if I didn’t figure out how to manage this job. There was always something to do, always something to create, always something to learn—it was never-ending. I fear it is only worse today. Social media and instant access to information and ideas are creating a chaotic environment that is hard to escape. This doesn’t even include the ever-changing needs of our students and families. To say teaching is a complicated and challenging profession would be an understatement. Hence the need for summer!
All of us will approach summer differently, but I hope your summer allows time for rest and renewal. Even God took time to rest. “And He rested on the seventh day from all the work he had done” (Genesis 2:2). I realize that we may all define rest differently, but I truly believe we need time to rest physically and emotionally. This is hard for me. I have a hard time sitting still for 15 minutes, and my mind is constantly thinking. I am still working on it, but I have figured out one action that works for me. I get up early, grab a cup of coffee, and camp out on the couch with my Bible and notebook. It is in this quiet time that I feel truly at rest. However, rest isn’t always relaxing during this time. Sometimes (more often than not) there is conviction, and God gives me the opportunity to remove the weeds (sin) from my life. Once those weeds are cleared out, I feel rejuvenated, ready to be fruit-producing. At least for a little while.
Our lives are similar to my garden. Sometimes that particular weed that we thought we took care of grows back because we really didn’t get it out by the roots. At other times a new weed pops up. I guess that is just part of our sin nature. You see, we can’t save rest and rejuvenation just for the summer, or the weeds will feel insurmountable, and the fruit will become quite hard to find. Making time to rest in the Lord—pulling the weeds and rejuvenating ourselves—should be a daily occurrence.
If you have let busyness get in the way (which we all do), use this summer time to tend to your spiritual garden—plant, water, weed, and bear fruit!
John 15:5 AMP
I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for (otherwise) apart from Me, you can do nothing.
Isaiah 30: 15
For the Lord God, the Holy one of Israel, has said, “In returning to Me and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confident trust is your strength.”
Fun Fact! In case some of you are wondering, the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are vegetables because that is what people think they are, BUT botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit. Chew on that a while. J