I find myself currently sitting outside on my lanai, rocking in my chair swing as I type this. For a mid-summer afternoon in Southwest Florida, it's breezier than normal. I am a full-time teacher during the school year, and I try to make it a priority to enjoy sitting in the chair swing to rest from a long school day by journaling, reading, or being still.
SIDE STORY: This chair swing was purchased by my dad as a surprise. We share an Amazon account, and right before my birthday I had the chair swing saved in the cart. One minute it's there, the next I get a notification via email, that the chair swing is on it's way to MY HOUSE. I quickly called my dad, and he plays it cool, as if he had no idea. Then, begins to explain how he purchased it for me! There's something about a dad's love that reminds me about the providence of our heavenly Father! The details are always taken care of. And just as our earthly dad loves to bless and surprise us. How much more does our heavenly Father?! :) [ see Matthew 7:11]
BACK TO THE ORIGINAL STORY: Since it's summer, I really do try to make it a priority to set aside the cell phone, devices, and my heavy expectations of how a summer day should unfold and sit in the chair swing. If you are a planner or high expectations kind of woman, you understand this feeling. If you're someone with deadlines, and lists, you understand it all the more. It's hard to quiet the mind when you're listening to so many other things or have created high expectations out of our plans and or even out of mere excitement. If there are three things I am learning this summer they are; rest. reset. and IT'S NOT PERSONAL.
There is a cycle that I had often found myself in, but certainly have been working on ending that cycle this summer. That cycle is the people pleaser cycle, that can end up becoming a set up for offense from taking things personal. The cycle that tells you that if you don't have a moment to yourself, someone might think you're mad at them. Or if they don't respond via text quickly enough, there is a specific reason and it has everything to do with something we did. First of all, I can speak so confidently about this because these are intrusive thoughts that gathered in my mind when others wouldn't fulfill my expectations. I have been on both ends. It's unfair to me and to the receiving participants. This summer I am dedicating time to rest and reset. It might look different for me than for you, but I am grabbing my journal and heading to the beach.
I've noticed a trend in society..we do not know how to truly rest anymore, and actively be in the present moment. Why is that? I often find myself asking this question. Is it because the first thing we do at every cost is log onto socials so as to not "feel" left out? The FOMO [fear of missing out] is so real, but it is painting a false sense of security. Someone not answering your phone call or texts is not personal. It doesn't mean someone never wants to talk to you. Maybe there is a call to rest. To take a break. It's a call to come up higher! Every time I have encountered this, I immediately shut my phone off thinking and praying, "Lord what can I do in this moment to add to my life?" Being a teacher on summer break can often be very lonely, because most friends and family work. I did take on a summer job working for my brother in the family business. In the moments I have a lot of time on my hands, that's when I have to remember to be more intentional with my time. Rest to me meant to do some sweet things that I enjoyed, on my time.
Coming up higher also required me to be fully present. I must apologize for the people who have been in my presence over the years, yet I was unaware of how "not" fully present I was due to the unrealistic expectations I set for myself to be "seen" on the socials. And by all means, live the life that you find beautiful. If it is posting, then post when you are feeling led to. But I've come to terms with learning what it's like to not post and be okay without the world not seeing beautiful moments in my life unfold. Resetting to me, meant enjoying the present moment with the people around me in that moment.
I also have decided a walk through my neighborhood, a bike ride, or an impromptu trip to the beach didn't need to wait to be done with anyone or to be captured every time for the world to see. I also had to take in account, that maybe someone's unresponsiveness to me could be them also leaving their phone unattended and going for a bike ride or to the beach as well. It's not personal.
There have been a lot of beautiful moments that have unfolded from fall 2022-present day, summer 2023. Heartbreak too..yet many beautiful moments haven't been captured for the world to see. Those memories were only made for just me. Some very special people in my life have taught me with their choices of how they use their devices, that it's not personal they just don't put the posting or replying quickly on a pedestal (and sometimes work and family life won't allow it). They also don't allow themselves to feel an urgency to respond right away. How many of us respond so quickly, just so we don't offend someone? Again, maybe I am speaking in generalizations because we all have different communication styles (while I really thought we were all the same). I had to get used to their styles while I was learning what worked for me. I must say, relationships grew through these actions, and I did too. I may showcase some truth, real and raw moments, and at times a beautiful reel of a sweet memory. But other than that, I choose this year to keep the most beautiful moments private and protected. I may not even share with many, the beautiful moments taking place. I've decided that I don't have to watch notifications pop up on my phone either, and answer everyone right away. Be intentional before responding.
I saw this quote from Brittney Moses, and it really made me realize take nothing personal and come up higher:
"If I haven't responded right away it's because I am resting.
Or prioritizing my health.
Or putting my family first.
Or finding space for joy.
Or being present with those in front of me.
I've unsubscribed from the cult of urgency to give
myself permission to rest.
It's not personal".
My call to you this summer is,