Ah, summer. A time to linger. Linger at the pool and the lake. Linger with lemonade and ice cream. Linger catching fireflies and roly polies. Linger during lazy days and warm nights.

At the end of the school year, these visions of summer rolled through my mind as an invitation to slowly enjoy the season.

But weeks into summer, panic can grip my heart. The days and weeks are rolling by, and I’m not really lingering. The to-do list continues. Cooking and cleaning still demand my attention. Some days, restful lingering has been prevented by plain old laziness.

On other days, we really have lingered. Only the results were not the summer bliss I envisioned. Lingering too long brought sunburns and exhaustion. Lemonade and ice cream created stickiness. Mosquitos and wasps interrupted the fun.

I can begin to see the glass of summer lemonade as half empty. How many weeks remain until the full school grind resumes? I don’t want to miss my opportunity. But time is ticking on, and I can fear summer might pass me by this year.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The art of lingering can be cultivated. Summertime lingering does not happen by accident, and it is the perfect opportunity for us to cultivate new habits for the rest of the year.

A habit to slow down and linger? Yes, please. That is a habit I want in my life.

What is this art of lingering?

An art is the expression of human creative skill or imagination, and it is acquired by experience, study, or observation.

To linger is to stay somewhere beyond the usual or expected time.

Putting those thoughts together, the art of lingering is a creative human expression by staying somewhere beyond the observation of what is expected.

The art of lingering is a choice.

A choice to linger is a choice to be intentional

Cultivating this art of lingering will require intent, because rushing is the norm in our world. We tend to rush from one activity to another appointment, cramming in meals and chores along the way. To fight the urge to rush, you must choose to be intentional.

A choice to linger is a choice to be creative

Lingering might also require some creativity. I know you have a lot going on in your life. Me too. Perhaps something needs to be let go. Perhaps something should be skipped. If you want to slow down, you must create space to allow yourself to linger. Creating space in your schedule might require you to choose to be creative with your schedule.

A choice to linger is a choice to be visionary

What would be the result if you intentionally choose to create space to linger? Just dream for a moment. What could happen in your mind, in your heart? How could your choice to linger bless your marriage? How would lingering be a blessing to your children? Choose to be visionary, and see what happens.

A choice to linger is a choice to be still

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) A simple instruction. Yet it is troubling to many moms today. We want to be still but feel like we just can’t. That is a lie from the enemy. Don’t believe it. If God whispers to your heart that He wants you to be still, He will make the way. But you must choose to follow and be still.

A choice to linger is a choice to love

A choice to linger provides a reminder that God wants to linger with you. A choice to linger provides a reminder that you want to simply be with the people around you.

Choose to love your child.

Serve lunch. Then linger with a kiss of her head. Hear his question. Then linger to contemplate your response before answering. Read a book. Then linger with some snuggles. Take a break from the task. Then linger by throwing the football.

Surprise your child by staying with them an extra moment beyond what they expect.

Choose to love your husband.

Linger before he walks out the door. Linger when he walks back in the door. Linger in a hug. Linger in conversation. Linger simply sitting beside him.

Surprise him by observing how he wants to be loved.

Choose to love your Jesus.

When you wake up? Linger with a simple, “Good morning, Lord.” After you read your Bible? Just sit an extra moment and talk with Him. As you go through a busy day? Set an alarm as a reminder to stop and talk with Him a little more.

Will you choose to linger?

Surprise yourself today by staying beyond the expected time. Choose to create space to linger. Even if just for a moment.

Enjoy that glass of lemonade. Catch a roly poly. Sit quietly by the water.

Then choose to linger again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

Over time, you can cultivate the art of lingering and build it into a habit. The invitation to linger during summer can transform the remainder of your year. Just make the choice.