Taking a Break

Summer Time and the Living Is ...

Recently, an article that ran in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Lazy Does It” suggested 50 ways to help you over-achieve this summer when it comes to under-achievement. Included were several ideas for looking laid back while maintaining some air of chic:

  • Cover-ups to go from deck chairs to dinner (somehow I don’t think I can pull that off the way those pencil-thin, air-brushed models do);
  • Six contemporary rocking chairs that bear little resemblance to the old fashioned ones;
  • Hair products that promise to make your coiffure look casual, breeze-tossed while falling perfectly into place;
  • Wide-brimmed, ribboned hats to add allure to your jeans (designer, of course) and T-shirt;
  • Pricey loafers ($500 a pair) to give the impression you are loafing in style.

Also included in the “livin’ is easy” category was a fly fishing resort promising butlered service at which the fisherman can enjoy the sport while “casting off all responsibility” and without any of the mess. And if you should be inspired to entertain, there were recipes that could be effortlessly assembled (no mention made of the clean-up). For those with more down-to earth interests, the article on “gardening made easy” featured drought resistant annuals that give splashes of color without requiring huge splashes of water.

While I assume the WSJ had rest and relaxation in mind, I’m not sure that any of those suggestions on their own will provide the rest most of us crave. Perhaps because of my growing up years on an Iowa farm, “lazy” doesn’t do it for me. The Psalmist wrote: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” I may not get out of Dodge this summer. But I’ve found that the time spent with my Lord and His Word in the mornings, in my jeans that are so “yesterday,” on my chintz-covered love seat that is close to becoming vintage, in the quiet of my bedroom does more to fill my cup than a week or two of “easy living.”

One element that was missing from the paper’s vacation section was a summer reading list. So I’ve come up with a short list of my own. Jesus told us that we are to feed on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Scripture is my daily diet: soul-refreshing, restorative, counsel and necessary food. Here are a few of my favorites:

Exodus 33:14; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 23:1-3; Isaiah 32:1,2,17,18; Isaiah 55:1-3; Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28; John 7:37; Hebrews 4:10

For heartier fare, I’m using Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s method of reading through the Scriptures in a year, along with D.A. Carson’s corresponding commentaries, For the Love of God, Volumes I and II. Timothy Keller’s The Songs of Jesus is another favorite and a good way to savor the Psalms in bite-sized pieces. Occasionally, I read A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Oswald Chambers’,  My Utmost for His Highest. Other books that will inspire are A Hunger for God by John Piper and Bruchko by Bruce Olson.

Would you share with us your favorites?