Core scripture: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Message: I didn’t feel like doing anything last Sunday. Nada. Zilch. No show to watch on Netflix. I didn’t want to play Legos with my boys. It was too hot to go outside. I didn’t want to read. Or write. Or play Ultimate Golf on my phone. My lower back was sore, and I had quite the tendonitis setting in on my left elbow, so I just flopped on the couch and closed my eyes, throwing myself a pity party. Nope! Didn’t feel like napping either. I couldn’t even relax my eyes.
This was pathetic!
I lay there for probably 18 minutes until I rolled off the couch, flopped into my black leather chair, and hacked out a journal about my feelings. It wasn’t my best piece of work, but it was something. Definitely forced but needed. And by the end of it, I had accomplished something. It felt like the beginning of a summer depression. I had enough activities to keep me busy as the week began, but I still fought that I-don’t-want-to-do-anything feeling. Especially in the midafternoons.
When I stepped into my counselor’s office last Thursday, I confessed that to him. Alan hadn’t even sat down yet, and he smiled at me, saying, “Sounds like you are in a battle of what your flesh wants to do and what God wants you to do—am I right?”
Yep, Alan! Nailed it. Thank the Lord for Christian counselors who can set you straight, calling you out in a loving yet convicting way. I soaked in his advice, brought myself back on my feet, and forged on. Suddenly, I realized why there was a pit in my stomach as my church has spent the last month going through Ecclesiastes chapters 1-4.
Talk about depressing!
Have you ever studied Ecclesiastes? The author, supposedly Solomon, has gained all the wisdom in the world throughout his life, but something went awry. He thinks life is pointless. You work and work but all for what? Everything is vanity. There is nothing new under the sun. Same old, same old. Nothing makes him happy. He has all the riches, women, gold, you name it, yet he thinks life is pointless under the sun.
Man, as I lay on the couch that day, it was weird. I was Solomon! It was a little bit scary. And as I battled my way through the week, I began to discover solutions to my dreary feelings. The times I felt most useful were when I was actually doing things. Like serving at VBS. Or working part-time for FCA. Or mowing the yard. Or playing with my boys at our neighbor’s pool. These activities all revolve around one commonality …
They are all opportunities to serve.
I confessed my laziness to my good friend Terry by sharing with him my journal. I likewise opened up to my wife and a few other friends. Getting that out helped me feel better as well. I am praying that creating to-do lists and picking my butt up off the couch will help me get back on track this week, and it does frustrate me that I have wasted away a bit of my summer. Heck, it has been four weeks since I’ve even written on my blog! But I am back today.
Better late than never.
Today, Father’s Day, has been a blessing. Good quiet time with the Lord this morning, church with the family, Minsky’s for lunch, time to write here this afternoon, and we are heading to the pool to close off the day. Well, I did skip over a half hour period where I closed my eyes, woke up, and watched the last 20 minutes of a Netflix show, so I wasn’t ultra-perfect, but who is?
I reflected on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. There is indeed a time and a season for everything. I made notes over the hard ones: a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to keep silence and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate. It got me thinking …
There is certainly a time for everything. A time to chill and play Ultimate Golf and a time to play with your boys. A time for Netflix and a time for taking a family walk. A time to nap and a time to mow. A time to read for enjoyment and a time to study the Bible. A time to meet old friends for coffee and a time to clean out your car. A time to have a date night and a time for a night to yourself. A time for a vacation and a time to pick up a summer job.
Here is the question … What does God want you to do? The summer routine for a teacher provides plenty of room for all of the above. Pray about your summer routine. Create some checklists. Treat yourself when you knock out a few things off your list. Stop living under the sun, pursuing the desires of your flesh, and gain the perspective of our Heavenly Father. That perspective is ABOVE the sun, and it points us to the Son.
(Did you see what I did there? Proud of that one!)
Challenge: Find a healthy routine for your summer break. Pray about what the Lord needs you to do each day, and follow His lead. Create a summer bucket list, begin to knock things out, recharge your batteries, reconnect with friends and family, and live above the sun.
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for summer vacation!
- Pray that you can find a healthy routine that glorifies the Lord this summer.
- Pray that this teacher can get his butt in gear and live the remainder of the summer above the sun.
Song application: “What If” by Matthew West
What if today’s the only day I got?
I don’t wanna waste it if it’s my last shot
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what ifs
I’m running till the road runs out
I’m lighting it up right here right now
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what ifs, yeah
Just for fun: Since today is Father’s Day, I thought I would give a shout out to my old man, Bill Daniels. I have been on a text chain all day with him and my brothers, sharing stories about how he raised us right and sprinkling in some stories to roast him as well. This story will do the latter.
In high school my dad was getting an earful from my mom for getting home a half hour later than normal, especially when she had a homecooked meal ready for supper. My Dad called me, told me to turn the clock back 20 minutes, and actually thought my mom would fall for it! She didn’t. You can’t put anything past Jan Daniels! Although I snuck into the kitchen like a ninja to do the deed, my mom found out pretty quick when I broke out in laughter at my Dad’s protesting of the time.
Prayer: Lord, use me this summer. Whatever You need from me, let me be bold to proclaim your love wherever I go. Amen.