I love its loosened pace. I love its wide open days with space to choose what we do, where we go. I love its switch-up in routine which allows for rest and healthy change.
But, I do not love what Summer does to my relationship with my Bible.
The moment school is out it is as though all of my self-will is tossed in the trash, alongside the kids’ end-of-year paperwork. My discipline goes on vacation as of the last weekend in May, and I struggle to corral it for 8 solid weeks.
Do you share in this tension between rest and laziness?
Sally Clarkson asserts that a “wise woman surrounds herself with other wise women”. And it was a wise friend who once shared with me a method for accomplishing simple, daily Bible reading which has helped me since, when life gets chaotic and frazzled.
A Study in the Psalms
A few years back, I went through a period of struggling with crippling depression. And for over a year, I was nearly emotionally immobilized. It was awful. In fact, so pervasive was this depression that I clearly recall journalling, “Today I laughed”.
Thankfully, God taught me more through this period of darkness than I could ever learn in the sunshine, so I am indebted to His mercy. But, it was difficult. And I was mentally worn by the struggle to daily “rise and shine” and put on my Mom-armor in order to face the tasks of a busy family.
It was in this period, that my wise friend recommended a study in the Psalm as a means of refreshing myself in God’s character.
Each day, she suggested, take a Psalm and read it until you have written down 3-5 characteristics of God’s nature. And then pray to know and believe these characteristics.
And so, I did. My journals from that year are some of my most prized possessions, because they tell a story of faithfulness. And I can literally read back and watch my faith and confidence in God growing, with each page. For the sake of example, I drew up a quick graphic to illustrate how I worked my way through the Psalms.
Below is an example of 5 characteristics of God I jotted down from Psalm 1.
This Psalm-study method of recording God’s character became valuable to me for 2 main reasons:
1. Time – A few minutes of concentrated study is often more helpful than an expanse of time with lofty goals. There are times and seasons, and a Psalms study is a great exercise in a busy or interrupted season.
2. Focus – A few minutes anchored in God’s character instantly reduces self-focus for the day. Being reminded of who He is transforms my thoughts. My thoughts become more like His, less like mine. And then my actions more easily follow suit.
If you find yourself struggling with a plan for quiet time this Summer, I would recommend a Psalms-study. It is everything devotional time needs to be in an interrupted season – simple, quick, attainable.
But it is also powerful. Because in solidifying our minds in Christ’s character, we become strong and better equipped for life as it unfolds. And even in the unpredictable, “lazy” days of Summer, I still desperately need His grace.