Do you find yourself suffering from the summer doldrums around this time of year? I do if I’m not careful, and to make matters worse I find myself much more susceptible as I’ve gotten older having become much less tolerant of the extreme Texas summer heat than I once was. For most of my life it had little impact, I could work or exercise outside in the middle of the day without giving it much thought. Nowadays, though, it seems that not only do I slow down, but everything else does as well. Business slows to a crawl, clients are out of town (someplace cool no doubt), and no one wants to do much of anything. It’s the season of the doldrums, and if I allow myself to get too caught up in it I begin to feel idle and unproductive. Does that happen to you?
No wonder, for from the very beginning of creation we were commanded by God to be productive – “. . . and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply . . .” (Genesis 1:28) In other words from our very origin we were designed to do work. So, if we find ourselves in a place where we are not “doing” we can get in a funk pretty quickly.
Work comes in different forms, though, and how and what we produce can evolve as we grow in our careers or grow older in our lives. Tee and I both had grandparents who lived well into their nineties, and all complained from time to time of feeling unproductive. Old age had sapped them of much of their energy and physical abilities like the summer heat, yet for us they remained invaluable sources of wisdom, encouragement and hope. They were in fact extremely productive, you see, but in a different way than even they were able to recognize. Similarly, career growth sometimes requires us to relinquish to others some of the “doing”. Instead our job is to mentor and provide wisdom and encouragement. It is still productive work, but in a different way.
I know I will never be able to tolerate the heat the way I once did, but neither should I allow myself to suffer from the summer doldrums. For me there is much work to be done. People still need ideas, motivation, encouragement and hope, and even if I’m not “doing” I can use the time to prepare and hone my skills. What about you, what are you doing to prevent yourself from being infected by the doldrums?