A few months back I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a local high school retreat/campout with one of my youth groups. The youth group was calling it "Pause," signifying the goal of the weekend was to get away from everyone's hectic lives and take a break to breathe and get some time alone with God. It worked.
The time I spent at Pause gave me an opportunity to take a much needed time of relaxation, and reminded me of the importance of taking time to just rest. In today's culture, everyone is always busy. There's a never-ending list of things to do, places to be, and people to catch up with. Sometimes it feels like you're only falling further behind, and never catching back up. It doesn't take long before you're overwhelmed, exhausted, and feeling like you're failing. It's an easy trap to fall into. And a hard one to climb back out of.
I still haven't found the secret to avoiding this pitfall, but I've found a few things that help. One of my biggest is stop procrastinating when I need to do things, and not keep "finding" distractions. But another thing I've found that helps, is allowing yourself some time to stop and rest. Give yourself a break. As one of the other youth groupers put it, take time to smell the flowers.
It's unbelievable how much it helps to take a few minutes, a couple deep breaths, and calm down. Giving yourself permission to rest is key. Don't worry about everything on your to-do list. Just go outside, enjoy God's beautiful creation, read a book, photograph, journal, do whatever is relaxing to you. Forget the stresses of life—allow yourself to rest. And just breathe.
Recently, my "theme song" has been Jonny Diaz's "Breathe." I'd highly recommend it if anything I've said today resonates with you.
Don't wait until school lets out or you get a break from work. Take time right now, this summer, and through the rest of the year to pause, take a breathe, smile, and thank God for your many blessings. Be refreshed and don't regret the moments you spend. Take time to smell the flowers.