There’s nothing like it. In fact, I recently told my kids that I live for summer.
I loved summer as a child. From riding my bike way past my usual bedtime, to picking and eating blackberries in our backyard, to vacationing every August with extended family at a state park…all of it was my favorite.
My love affair with summer didn’t end with my childhood. I loved it as a teenager, as a college student, as a public school teacher, as a homeschooling mom, and yes, I even (and maybe especially) love it now that my kids are on summer break from their Christian school.
You won’t hear me complain about bugs. Or heat. Or even humidity, even though it does crazy things to my hair.
I’ve had a “summer break” in some way, shape, or form every summer of my life. And I really, really like summer break. (Can you tell?)
Who doesn’t enjoy a break from the routine? I think we all do. But here’s the thing that’s been rattling around in my brain a lot lately…
I really don’t think God wants Christ-followers to take a break from…well, following. And too often, I’m afraid that’s just what we do.
(Or maybe it’s just me?)
Because following shouldn’t primarily be about routine. It should be about relationship. And the last time I checked, taking a break from a relationship is a sure sign that the relationship is less than what it should be in the first place.
So what if I decided to make a change this summer? What if, instead of taking a break from Christ-following, I decided to follow differently?
Don’t get me wrong, I intend to follow just as hard. And just as close. But following hard and close can come in a thousand different shades of the same hue. We cheat ourselves out of a lot of beauty when we decide to limit following to one particular tint.
Summer break with no school work and fewer scheduled activities provides an outstanding opportunity to follow in ways that might be impossible during the school year. What if we took advantage of that extra time and used it for Christ’s kingdom?
Dave Ramsey is known for saying, “Money that isn’t directed will disappear.” This is no less true of our time. If we don’t plan to make good use of our extra time this summer, before we know it, summer will be gone and we’ll have nothing to show for it besides our suntans.
Here are a few ideas about how my family and I will keep following our Savior through the summer:
- Regular family worship in the evenings, trying different locations (pending hubby approval). Front porch, back deck, a grassy spot in the yard…perhaps we’ll even take it on the road! Maybe we’ll find a quiet spot at a park, or be bold and worship in a busy location.
- We’ll have our son’s t-ball team and their families over for a cookout, demonstrating hospitality to our children and sharing Christ’s love with our guests.
- My oldest two kids will write letters to their Compassion children (a habit I hope we can implement and continue indefinitely).
- Vacation Bible School! It’s a special time for members of our family to serve and learn together.
- I would like to have our neighbors over for a cookout, to build our relationships with the hopes of sharing Christ with them.
- I plan to take all six kids to visit a nursing home at least twice this summer. We used to do this regularly all year long, but it has been a while since we’ve served in this way.
- We hope to get together with family and friends throughout the summer…and I’m praying for God’s grace to be intentional in our relationships. I want to follow His leading in taking conversations beyond the surface…this means mutual encouragement with other believers, and boldness to share my faith with those who may be unsaved.
- We won’t give up our church attendance this summer! It may be adjusted to reflect the different schedules of our various ministries, but we’re strong believers in the importance of contributing to our local church.
- I intend to read the Bible with the kids at breakfast every morning. There aren’t many activities that have borne more fruit in the lives of our children than this simple routine. It will be special this summer because one of the children in our home who attends school will be able to join us! We can also take advantage of warm mornings and have breakfast on the deck.
- One of the books we’ll read aloud as a family this summer will be a missionary biography.
What can you add to my list? Please share an idea or two…or twelve! Let’s encourage one another to follow hard after our God…today and all summer long!
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish,
but understand what the will of the Lord is.”