Five ways to grow spiritually during the summer
School is out for summer, the kids are home, and my life just got more complicated. I am now balancing their work and sports schedules, my work schedule, their chores and social events. As a busy family with seven children ranging from 3 to 19, there are times when life is in the fast lane and things show no sign of slowing down.
For example, just recently, we celebrated a First Communion, a Confirmation, graduations from high school and eighth grade, numerous end-of-school year activities, brought a son home from college, had one child get their tonsils out, and another child had their wisdom teeth removed! Yep, this is my life. The question is, how can I manage it in a way that doesn’t leave me stressed out and feeling burdened?
Speaking of burdened, I knew I needed a day of spiritual renewal when my favorite Scripture was, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Christ makes it clear, in order to receive our rest, we must first come to him. He is calling, but are you responding? Are you willing to follow him, step away from the race of life, and say, “yes” to restoration and time out for renewal? When we acknowledge these difficult times, we need to step away like Our Lord did when he would go off and spend time in prayer.
While we may sometimes just want to relax and decompress, consider doing one better for the soul and include some time to pray and reflect! Give yourself 24 hours to be restored, renewed, and strengthened for your weary journey! That is exactly what I did one weekend recently, and as a result I feel filled up, not burdened like I did before I left.
I decided to meet up with old friends and go on retreat! We had a wonderful time, not only growing spiritually together but in our friendship, as well. These lifelong friends are ones who have seen me on my good days and bad. They have been like pillars reminding me of who I am and not to lose hope no matter how difficult life can be.
Each June we make an effort to reconnect and include a spiritual dynamic. In the past we had mainly done things with our families while also attempting to incorporate our faith, like going to Catholic family camp, but this time the moms of a total of 19 children went on retreat by ourselves.
Five steps to help you not be burdened but grow spiritually!
Plan a time of renewal
Take a minute and look at your summer months. How do you intend to fill them? Do you have spiritual goals set for your summer? Do you plan to set aside some time of spiritual renewal for not only you but your family and children? Go on retreat, visit a shrine, consider attending a conference, or even pick up a great spiritual book and go away for a day and enjoy your own retreat! Create some time that is based on silence.
Schedule in time for prayer
Even if you don’t have a prayer schedule yet … create one … . Our prayers are what fuel our works of mercy and all we do in our daily life! Mary wants to lead us to Jesus. Ask her to help you not to feel overwhelmed or burdened by your life, but remain peaceful no matter what your days look like.
Be active and enjoy life
The growing trend is to allow screens to entertain not only our children but us as adults. It is easy to let things go and let the children do what they want. The reality is, it isn’t healthy for everyone! We all can benefit from having screen free time. The amount of time on screens can lead to anxiety, stress, and even depression. I just heard adult peers saying that their dream day was a day away binge watching HBO. The reality is this will not restore our soul and help us navigate our life. Consider less screen time this summer and more active time!
Consider being spiritually fed on the sacraments
At least one more time a week! The Eucharist is our spiritual strength, so why not find a Mass time that works with your summer schedule? You would be surprised by the number of Masses that might be in your area if you take a minute and begin searching! Check out MassTimes.org to find a Mass time near you!
If you are feeling burdened and overwhelmed, consider taking time out to pause, spend time with the Lord and grow closer to Christ, especially during these summer months.