A Summer Slower Pace

Many regard the Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of summer. Sunday was exceptionally beautiful for our road trip to Vandalia for worship, dinner, and family time with my sister and dad. However, during the trip we ran into another frustrating detour that wasn’t clearly marked out. This has been ongoing for a few years now due to a critical mine subsidence issue necessitating numerous repairs on a two-mile stretch of Route 185 between Hillsboro and Coffeen. We were closing in on our destination and I thought, “Here we go again! I wonder how long this is going to take!”

Another reminder... "Be Calm!"

At this point, Monique, my “counselor of calmness,” offered some much-needed advice, “Let’s pretend we are on vacation and just take our time!” Immediately, this thought slowed me down, literally, and figuratively! This is what I needed to hear to relax as I steered the Buick over hill and dale not knowing exactly where we were going to come out of this. The detour was only a momentary diversion and soon we were back on track! Much ado about nothing!

Although we are technically retired these days, I still feel myself getting tightly wired at times. Monique and I maintain an active daily lifestyle with personal, professional, family and church commitments. We like what we do! Yet, summers do provide us an opportunity to “dial down” some of the stress that comes with our usual part-time responsibilities. I shared with Monique later that we were taking another detour home that would involve an extra twenty minutes of drive-time. I was delighted to hear her say, “That’s okay so long as we go by a Dairy Queen!” 😊

Have you found yourself in need of the proverbial “chill pill” lately? I’m not thinking about medication although sometimes that can be helpful. I am referring to some self-talk or wise counsel from family or a friend that produces a realignment of priorities. We can find a better balance, but it requires some thoughtful planning and resetting how we go about our lives. Sometimes I need to be challenged in order to slow my pace or I will just keep on keeping on while the frustration grows. Family has been good to help “reign me in!”

Our church recently had a two-day prayer conference led by two gifted speakers. This was an excellent retreat-like time to get quiet before the Lord. We were reminded that prayer is communicating with the Lord that involves our praise, thanksgiving and petition in Jesus’ Name. But it also requires us to intentionally shut out the noise of everyday commitments so that we can hear God and listen to what He is saying to us. One of our church’s value statements includes mindful prayer. When I’m mindful, I am being focused, aware of the moment, and inclined to listen to what God is saying to me.

Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite prayer reminders. In fact, I have a baseball cap with this verse on it! Not only does this cap instruct me to be still before God, it also has drawn a few looks and comments from others in public places! The Passion Translation has a fresh way of rendering the verse, “Surrender your anxiety. Be still and realize that I am God. I am God above all the nations, and I am exalted throughout the whole earth.”

Let’s use this summer as a time for slowing our pace and setting aside additional time to pray for our family members, neighbors, friends, and anyone else who needs encouragement, guidance and God’s love. To be more mindful and intentional about your praying, be ready to “surrender your anxiety!” That’s a pretty good formula for a great summer… slow down and surrender to Him!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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