“Refreshments will be served.” Sometimes we hear this announced in regards to a meeting or event. Refreshments are not something I’m very good at. I don’t always think ahead, or I wonder, “What can I do quickly?” Serving refreshments can be a good means of fellowshipping or making the event a little more special.
How about refreshment of the soul? I love my job and the work that goes with it, but it is good to have a time of refreshment. My mind and spirit need to be refreshed after a busy school year. One of my friends commented, “I’m sure you’re enjoying your summer break from school. It’s always good to have that time of refreshment.”
I’ve been pondering this kind of refreshment. Yes, the summer should be a time of refreshing. What is this kind of refreshment? It’s easy to think, “Oh, I must do this—I need to get that done,” and just keep going with a busy schedule. One day during this summer vacation, I thought, “I’m tired. Maybe I’ll take a nap.” My next thought was, “No, I shouldn’t do that. I need to do ___________.” I stopped, and told myself, “It is summer vacation. I can take a nap!” So I did.
I don’t mean to endorse laziness, but teachers do need to take some time for refreshment, for rejuvenation, for reviving. We work hard through the school year, and I had a goal of going strong until the very end. Now I need refreshment so I can be motivated to start the new school year well.
I especially need the time of spiritual refreshment. I think of the verse from Acts 3:19, “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” I am refreshed as I take time for prayer and Bible study. I am refreshed as I stop working outside, sit on the bench, and just enjoy the lovely evening with its vibrant colors. Praising God in song or prayer as I enjoy His creation is refreshing.
How can I find times of refreshment? At one point today when I looked at the clock, I realized, “It doesn’t matter what time it is. I have nothing scheduled for today.” I think that is refreshing, to lay aside the deadlines and schedules, busy-ness and appointments, and just go through the day.
I am refreshed by being outside and working in the dirt and with the flowers. I like to pull weeds (except for that poison ivy!) and plant flowers, and watch the growth in the gardens. Often in the evening I walk around the yard and look at all the blooming plants and enjoy my Father’s creativity. Being outside watching the sky, clouds, breeze, moon, sunrise and sunset, a storm rolling in—these are times of refreshment.
I keep an “Inspiration” file and it is refreshing to look back on the notes, letters, stories, quotes, and verses that I have collected. I find it refreshing to organize my folders and files at school and find ideas that I want to try and to feel like I have it together if only for a few weeks!
Now I will “serve” some refreshments, a list of ideas for refreshment for your summer!
- Physical activity: mowing the yard, doing some extra cleaning, taking the dog for a walk
- Work on a hobby: coloring, making cards, sewing, painting, woodworking, gardening.
- Listen to music, podcasts, video clips.
- Travel! See a new part of the country, interact with a different culture, visit friends and family, take a personal retreat.
- Help someone: babysit, do chores, share advice and ideas, do something extra for Sunday School.
- Work ahead on a school project (This might not sound like refreshment, but it is nice to know that I have this ready prior to school beginning, so that is refreshing!)
- Take a nap, and don’t feel guilty. J
- Go for a drive and notice the surroundings.
- Read a book that is not about teaching or school.
- Plan a new unit and gather materials for it.
- Test a new field trip destination.
- Reflect and remember from the past year: the blessings, how God brought me through, what I want to do better next year.
- Learn something new: a hobby, a different skill or strategy for school, a new recipe.
- Spend time with friends and family.
Today was refreshing for me. I slept in a bit, caught up on a number of little odd jobs that don’t get done during the school year, reviewed some Bible curriculum, sewed, worked outside, read, made scones for lunch, and now I’m baking chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been home all day, which doesn’t happen too often, and that was refreshing.
Chocolate chip cookie, anyone?
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt