We are going to do an extension on the “What to do with your___” series, but in a more informal and conversational way. Feel free to interact via the comments section, and check in whenever you want. Some weeks we will have guest writers, some you may know and others you may not. Let’s begin!
What to do with your summer…brought to you by: Rachelle Hamilton
Summer always seemed so magical when I was a kid…it equaled freedom. Free to sleep in, free to play outside, free to wear pajamas all day, free to go to the pool, free to eat copious amounts of watermelon and cherries (my favorite summer fruits), and so on. In addition to the freedoms summer affords, I also celebrate my birthday in the summer, so summer also always represented presents. Summer was just bliss. Even still as an adult, the nostalgic mythical quality summer has still wafts in the air. I liken summer to Schroedinger’s cat, the possibilities are endless! I have ideas of grandeur…all the places I will go, all the goals I will , all the people I will see! I plan to spend hours upon hours daily in devotions to G-d, this summer will be the summer that I actually get in shape, I will spend so much time outdoors, visit family and friends, eat at restaurants I’ve been meaning to try, go to museums/galleries, go on road-trips, read a thousand books, I will learn to surf like I have been wanting to do, and the list continues. When in reality only a fraction of that is accomplished. Instead my days get divided up with work, planning, and just some of the wonderful things I had in mind.
Before I know it, it has slipped through my fingers like the sand at the beach that I had planned to spend so much time at. It feels like a whirlwind…gone in a flash, blink and you will miss it! Sometimes I feel that way about the school year as well and my day-to-day comings and goings. Where has time gone?
Ephesians 5:15-1715 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom
Psalm 119:133-135 (the Message, paraphrase) Steady my steps with your Word of promise so nothing malign gets the better of me. Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women so I can live life your way. Smile on me, your servant; teach me the right way to live.
I want to discuss how we can make the most with the time that we have, (and this concept can be applied into our daily life, not just the summer). I believe we must start with knowing what we want/ expect and even beyond that asking what does G-d want to do with our time? Sometimes we don’t know what we would want at all which leads to living haphazardly like we are from a Dirk Gently story. Other times we have a problem with wanting too many different things and we have a heart that is divided and become paralyzed. Sometimes we know exactly what we want but haven’t even thought about what G-d might have for our life. If you haven’t done so recently, I highly encourage you to pause right now and just ask G-d this simple question, “What do you have in mind for me this summer, this week, today?” and then wait for His response.
I am not really talking about just having goals to strike off of a to-do list or new year’s resolutions. Summer offers a time table of its own and allows us to see our time differently than our normal schedule might. It is a finite amount of time, with a beginning and an end, so we can ask ourselves, “what qualities would you like to see in yourself by the end of the summer?”, “how would you like G-d to use you?”, or “what steps can I take that will have eternal impact in not only my own life but perhaps also in the lives of others?”
These questions can seem kind of daunting, and we can sometimes see too many areas that we need to work on and don’t know where to start. So let’s narrow it down with a few practical questions…
Q1: What are your top 5 priorities for this summer? Put another way what are some of your summer non-negotiables?
Perhaps you would like to break old patterns, maybe you want to start new habits, or you want to be more outward, maybe you want to spend more time with family, perhaps you want to become more physically active, etc. Write down just 5 things that you want to capitalize on. Maybe you see qualities in other people that you would also like to cultivate in yourself. I see the way Daniel prays in Daniel chapter 6, and I see the intimacy Moses had with G-d and it makes me want to take my relationship with G-d to the next level.
Secondly we must recognize our obstacles. Just because we have a desire to do something, doesn’t mean it will happen on its own. Not only that, but other things will wiggle in there and take precedence.
Q2: What are some of the obstacles that keep you from accomplishing those goals?
Maybe you really want to read more but you always fall asleep. Or perhaps you get distracted from devotional time with exciting things like instagram or a new show you are streaming. Perhaps you don’t have the time to pick up an exercise routine. Or you lack motivation and energy to meet new people and put yourself out there. We have to recognize the things that truly hinder us from moving forward and advancing to greater heights.
Q3: What are some practical ways that you can combat your obstacles?
If you become tired while reading maybe choose a different chair to sit in, read at a time when you have more energy, or maybe change the reading material to something that keeps you awake. If you are getting distracted and your time with G-d feels like a dull routine, maybe it is time to shake it up and do something new…maybe read a devotional, go for a walk and pray, buy a new journal, add music, etc. If you can’t add in a full exercise routine, try using stairs instead of elevators, stand instead of sit, be more active where you can. Whatever your obstacles may be, think of practical things you can implement.
At the end of the day I can’t tell you what to do with your summer, but I wanted to give ourselves the time and space to think about the potential the next couple of months hold. Also, give yourself freedom to change and shift your expectations, perhaps as you dive into something you realize you have to work out other things first, that’s completely ok.