How to Make the Sole-Focus of Your Summer, A Soul-Focus
Since moving to the Phoenix area, I’ve never dreaded summers more than I do now, and for good reason. Last summer we had 145 days of triple-digit heat, and over 103 days without a drop of rain, beating out old records from 1895! Apparently, we didn’t have enough to talk about in 2020. It’s no exaggeration then to say it was the longest, hottest summer ever. So when a friend recently asked me if I was looking forward to summer, I eloquently answered, “Uh, sort of. Actually, not really. Wow, it is getting really close, isn’t it?”
A Love/Hate Relationship with Summer
Despite the extreme heat I live in, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with summer. As a kid, I loved it. I did all the typical summery-things like bum around the house all day, stay up too late, and sleep in too long. But as an adult, summers bring a whole lot more work, a whole lot more mom guilt, and a lot less productivity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending more time with my kids, and watching them splash around in the pool. I will forever associate good things with the smell of Coppertone sunscreen and Otter Pops. But for all that I love about summer, I hate the accompanying mom guilt that seems to intensify every year once it reaches about 100°F.
Moms balance a lot all year long. But for working moms especially, summer feels like a no-win game. We all want to provide opportunities for our kids to play, relax, work, and learn. We want to be with them more, and at the same time we don’t want to be with them. See what I mean? It’s all so complicated, and so guilt-producing.
A Better Alternative to Mom Guilt
Can we whole-heartedly work and serve those we’re called to, without mom guilt this summer? Is it possible to clear away the clutter of our to-do lists, and still make the sole-focus of our summer, a soul-focus?
I believe it’s possible, with God’s help. He gave us a formula for our work, and with it He offers us a hefty, glorious, and motivating promise. Here it is…
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”Colossians 3:23
Let’s break it down.
Whatever you do
Working mom or not, we all work. This is a reminder there is no separation between what is secular and what is sacred in our work. It’s all sacred. Whatever we do, we’re to do it unto the Lord. That means the emails, the laundry, the carpooling, the endless diaper changes, it all matters when it’s unto the Lord.
Isn’t this freeing? The world places different weights of importance on different jobs. But in God’s economy, no matter how small, insignificant, or mundane, whatever you do, it’s for the Lord.
Do it with your whole heart
When our kids were little, we used to teach them to obey “all the way, right away, and with a happy heart.” This is a tall order for anyone to obey. We need God’s help to align the right heart attitude with our work each day. If it’s not already a part of your practice, decide to make spending time in God’s word a part of your daily routine. This is an especially powerful witness for our kids to see Mom spending time in God’s word. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some great resources here and here.
Don’t do it for others
Are you more motivated to lessen your mom guilt, than you are to genuinely bless your kids? Pray for the right motivation to lovingly serve your family. Ask God to help you be proactive and not reactive when serving your kids. It feels great to lovingly serve our kids because it was in our hearts to do so. It feels less great to do things because we’re trying to keep up with outside pressures or expectations. Do it for the right reasons. Check your motivations.
Expect blessing as a reward
The Lord promises that to those who work heartily (I love that word!) unto him, they will receive the inheritance as a reward. This doesn’t mean that your inheritance will be that you get everything done today, or that you’ll have a conflict-free summer with your kids. No, instead it means that the Lord sees everything we do, and the heart behind everything we do. He sees the secret places in our hearts, and he’ll reward the faithful servant who seeks to honor Him in everything she does. This is a glorious prize, and worth working heartily for!
Remember who you serve
Friend, if you are a Christian, you are serving the Lord Christ. He never overlooks anything. He sees every sacrifice you make, every late night you spend serving your family, every situation in which you feel you’re not enough, and He remembers them all. That’s the God we serve.
This summer, when the inevitable pressures weigh down on you of all you’re “supposed” to be, and remind you that you’re not enough, remember that’s not from God. His way is kindness (Romans 2:4). His mercies that are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23) and His steadfast love never fails us (Psalm 100:5). Instead of being reactive and fighting back mom guilt this summer, let’s be proactive and make it our aim to make the sole focus of our summer, a soul focus. That will make for much better summer memories, anyway.