As Summer Winds Down

As we approach the end of summer and look to the fall, I want to say a word about busyness. We live in a world that celebrates busyness. Even our vacations can seem more like a chore than rest. And once kids get back to school, they hit the ground running, often already being involved in sports or band or other practices and activities in preparation for the fall season. Some of us become so busy, we need a personal administrator to organize our lives!
Having said this, activities and plans can be good things. Sports, cheer, band, camping, and weekends away can all be great things. They can be times of refreshing, times of being stretched, teamwork, and personal growth. However, they can also encroach on other key aspects of our lives and, thus, crowd out even more vital things. To my point, we can be so busy with all the possible things we can do that we sometimes neglect the things we truly need the most. For example, making time for Christian growth and a Christian community is not something that can be squeezed into an already overcrowded schedule. Just like other priorities, intentionality is key, especially in a world that is leaving us both busy and isolated at the same time.

As Jake Meador, editor-in-chief for Mere Orthodoxy, tells us, declining church involvement goes hand-in-hand with record lows in mental health and individual satisfaction. “The problem in front of us is not that we have a healthy, sustainable society that doesn’t have room for church. The problem is that many Americans have adopted a way of life that has left us lonely, anxious, and uncertain of how to live in a community with other people." In other words, our culture has become so accustomed to busyness and distraction, that we are not meeting our more vital spiritual needs for connection with God and others. And when that spiritual need goes unmet, it leaves a deep impact on us emotionally, mentally, and physically, as well.

This note is not meant to discourage or criticize, but rather to highlight a common struggle many of us have to cause us to reflect as we enter the fall season. It is meant to remind us all how easy it is to become overly preoccupied with things that may not have lasting value, and this includes me!

Someone once put it this way, "If you are too busy to spend time with God, you are busier than he intends you to be." I think that sums it up well. So, as you come to the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall, be sure to make space for time with God and time in community with his people. You'll be glad you did, and you, your family, and the church will all be healthier for it!

In Him,
Daren Penwell

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