My time in Florida as a Psychology Professor led to an observation that my psychology students encountered during their summer internships: the change of seasons impacted the adolescent census at the adolescent mental health hospital. The transition from Spring to Summer led to a 50% reduction in retentions and admissions. Why? Was the therapeutic process that life changing or unnecessary? No. It was simply economics. Parents decided that they would rather spend their money on summer vacations and activities instead of “treatment” for their adolescent.
My students also experienced the reversal of this tread when Summer ended and Fall began. Why this reversal? The reason: Summer was over and now the routine of life began again for the individual and their family. Nothing had changed in the life of the adolescent’s problems or the problem adolescent depending on your view of the “problem.”
The “time away” allowed individuals and families to focus on other things for a period of time. In essence summer vacations provide a distraction from the realities of life. We all need times in “Disney Land” or as scriptures say, “a time of refreshment.” While vacation time is beneficial and necessary, it often makes the return to the reality and routines of life difficult. Why? Because the issues of the heart are still the same. Environment and location does not change the heart. As my mentor, Dr. Henry Brandt, would say, “You bring yourself with you wherever you go.” Disappointment, discouragement, stress and anger often surface during reentry.
The principle of refreshment is biblical. Exodus 31:17: “It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”
Refreshment also has a purpose – renewal. Ephesians 4:23-24: “and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The question is: How did your time away and that of your congregation bring refreshment and renewal? What happened upon re-entry?
1. What areas of your life need to be refreshed? Develop a plan for refreshment.
2. What plans, dreams, visions need to be renewed? How will you use your refreshment to renew your plans, dreams, and visions?
3. What patterns of heart, thought, and behavior need to change for lasting renewal?
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of help (firstname.lastname@example.org).