Don’t Waste Your Summer

After returning from a family trip earlier this week, a fellow staff member asked me, “So, did you have a good time or do you need a vacation from your vacation?”

She was half-joking, but I think we can all remember times when a vacation–originally intended to give us a much-needed break–seemed to be more exhausting than our normal routine.

The same goes for summer. We look forward to a slower pace and fewer demands, but the way we spend our summer can sometimes leave us feeling worse for the wear.

More importantly, every day of summer is a stewardship from God himself. If you waste your summer, you’ll be frittering away God’s precious gift. Display your gratitude to God by redeeming the time.

In order to help us think through how to make the most of our summer, I’ve listed a few key principles:

  1. Reflect. Take some time to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish this summer. What memories do you want to make with your family? What books do you want to read? What spiritual insights to you want to help your children grasp? What projects around the house do you want to complete? The point is not necessarily which goals you decide on, but the fact that you have them–that you’re intentionally trying to accomplish some key things. It might help to write these goals down and discuss them with your family.
  2. Recreate. Think about that word for a moment. Re-create. That is, spend some time this summer recharging your mind, body, and spirit. And have fun doing so. But keep the goal in mind. This is precisely where many of us go wrong. We tend to think that it doesn’t matter what we do in our “fun” time. But immoderate indulgence in otherwise innocuous things will wear us down, not build us up. There is nothing re-creational about staying up late all summer and eating nothing but junk food. Choose entertainment that is pleasing to the Lord and keep company with those who will prod you to grow spiritually.
  3. Reconnect. Life is busy. We can go for months without really talking with those closest to us. The fact is that we often squander our meager opportunities on watching TV. Many of us have even grown uncomfortable with silence and feel like we can’t spend time together without something to do. Resist this way of thinking. Slow down, stop texting for a minute, and talk to the person next to you. Those of you with children need to think seriously about how many summers you have left with them. Don’t waste your summer. Reconnect with those you love.
  4. Reach out. Summer is a perfect time to reach out to lost friends and neighbors. Instead of fretting over the fact that the family down the street won’t come to Friend Day, try having them over for burgers. You would be surprised what kind of ministry opportunities God will give you if you pray for and seek out opportunities to reach your community for Christ.
  5. Renovate. And not just your house…yourself. We all have difficulty taking the next step in our relationship with the Lord. Summer is the perfect time to start reading through the Bible, keeping a journal, and having family devotions. Seize the day and use the change in routine to introduce some helpful habits into your life.
  6. Rely. At the end of the day, your summer is going to be a big disappointment if you forget this principle. You need God. If you’re living week after week without giving Christ’s death and resurrection more than a passing thought, you are going to burn out. Rest on the solid Rock–Jesus–who will enable you to boldly lead your family, share the Gospel at work or on that back patio, and genuinely use your summer for God’s glory and your highest good.

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