A Permission Slip ... to Slow Down

The past two weeks in New Jersey (and in many other parts of the country) have been hot. Very hot.  So much so that we have started to feel like old timers, talking more about the weather than about anything else.

"Hot enough for ya?"

That classic line has become very popular in the St. Pierre house.  Even our four year old is a weather expert.  It's become a sport to check weather.com for daily updates.  Like a badge of honor, we brag to our friends about how close to 100 it is.  Just today I spoke with a friend who smiled and relayed a story of how his sandle melted on some sand at the beach as if to say, "real men brave the elements."

As we now wait for rain, and it seems like it will rain one of these days, I'm a bit sad.  You'd think that I would be happy, after all our lawns look like hell.  Strangely enough, the heat has taught me a crucial lesson.  A lesson about rest, about sabbath and about spiritual things.  The fact is, most of what we've done in the past two weeks has been downright restful.

We have read books.  Played board games.  Cooked healthy meals.  Took trips to the pool.  It's been spectacular and filled with moments of Sabbath.  It was as if we needed the heat to give us permission to slow down and just be.

Life is like that.  My friend Christine talks about a time when she was sick with a cold.  She "called in sick", read magazines and enjoyed hot tea- all day long.  "I loved it," she said as she explained how she needed a cold to give her permission to slow down.

That's all we need most of the time, permission.  Permission to take a break.  Permission to nap without guilt.  Permission to spend a bit longer cooking a meal when we would ordinarily rush.  Permission to linger in your prayer time.

Our culture is often about the work of taking permission away. You shouldn't take a break, work harder.  You shouldn't do one thing at a time when you could be multitasking.  You shouldn't enjoy a small home when everyone else is heading to larger four bedroom models.

Our faith tells us to counter all of this.  To swim against the stream and accept permission to live consciously right here and right now.

Which area of your life are you feeling as if permission is needed? Have you been beating yourself up because your waistline isn't perfect?  Forget about it.  Guilt-ridden because you didn't get the perfect gift for someone?  Please!

Go ahead and give yourself permission today to let God meet you right where you're at.  That might take place during supper or while you're going for a swim or even while you're waiting in traffic.

It's ok, you have permission.