Image by Sister Amy Taylor
When I think of summer I revel in the possibilities of beautiful weather and time to slow down, relax and reconnect in person (not through Facebook) with family and friends. And with record high temperatures across the upper Midwest the media advises moving at a snail’s pace to save energy and stay cool—another change in our tempo.
Letting go of the urge to hurry in every moment—when the time comes to stop working and get to a gathering, when we can't rush around in the heat doing what we think we have to do quickly—can be difficult. After all, American culture demands instant results. I came face-to-face with this reality while vacationing for a week with my FSPA sisters. One day we decided to grill hamburgers for our evening meal. Typically, after a full day of ministry, we run home to quickly cook and put dinner on the table. Charcoal grills, however, can have cooking minds of their own: run hot and cold in the wind and placement of the coals; temperamental to the skill level of the one flipping the food. Grilling is not an instantaneous process but when you're on vacation, why rush? Why not enjoy the experience?
If you dig deeper into the coals, grilling can offer wisdom for the discernment process. Controlling an open flame takes a careful eye. Too much oxygen and the flames might jump wildly, too little and the coals can suffocate. Smoke can obscure vision and make breathing difficult. Multitasking or walking away can result in a seriously overdone dinner. In a matter of a few moments burgers can go from perfection to charred hockey pucks.
Just like grilling, rushing discernment can spark out-of-control flames, become all consuming, or stifle it out completely. Smoke in discernment can cloud vision; can surface in the form of anything that encourages distraction from the very personal and mindful process. The same holds true of too much trepidation that—like putting the lid on the grill—can snuff out gifts and talents, slowly suffocate bright flames.
Yet if we take the time to be attentive to the process we will discover our unique discernment temperature. Letting the coals of discernment provide the necessary inspiration can lead to sweet success, just like the enjoyment of roasting marshmallows in the dusk of a summertime barbeque.
Are you taking time this summer to nurture the coals and fan the flames in your life?