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Enjoy the lazy river


The Life Less Traveled


July 03, 2013
When you're the parent of a preschooler, water parks are anything but relaxing. You spend most of your time chasing your kids across hot pavement, wiping water out of their eyes with a towel or helping them dodge hairy men in the wave pool. If you want to catch a break, the lazy river is your only hope.

I don't know who invented this concept, but it's brilliant. The whole idea is to lay down on an inner tube and do nothing. You float. That's it. If your kid is big enough to hold on to a tube, you can almost take a nap.

Unfortunately, no one told my 4-year-old this. The second we hit the lazy river last week, she took off running. I'd just settled into my tube when she bolted like an Olympic sprinter. I wanted to yell, "Hey, this is the LAZY river. That is not lazy!"

By this time, however, she was already gone. I charged off after her, parting the crowd like the Red Sea, smacking every third or fourth person in the head with my tube. This was not my idea of relaxing. I knew if I ever caught her, I was going to have to give this kid some serious lessons on laziness.

I'm sure sometimes God feels the same way about us. From the beginning of creation, God built in seasons of rest for his people. Daily, weekly and annually. Sure, we're made to create and accomplish great things, but we're also designed for downtime. It's in that downtime that we replenish not just our bodies, but our minds and our spirits as well. We're not just made to do, but we're made to be.

In Psalm 23, David wrote that God "leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul."

I don't know about you, but when God invites me to join Him beside quiet waters, sometimes I take off running like a 4-year-old who doesn't get what the lazy river is all about. I cram my days with busyness and make even my vacations feel like work. I rarely get enough sleep. I treat coffee like a food group.

The result? I'm often tired, irritable and easily stressed. But I'm learning.

Yesterday, with a million things on my to do list, I took a nap. Afterwards, I spent some time in my backyard just reading and listening to God. No agenda. Just quiet waters. Just hanging out in the lazy river with my Dad.

Whatever your week is like, I hope you'll sneak away for some rest. I hope you'll stop running just for a bit and learn how to be lazy again.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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