How To Make the Most Out of Your Summer Season
It’s like I blinked and summer was over! This is what I sound like pretty much every August just before the school year starts. Ever been there? You start the summer months with all of these fabulous ideas and projects in mind, only to feel like the entire season was a blur!
Maybe you tend to work through a long break, going from project to project, not making time for anything fun, and then feel burned out by the end of it? Or maybe you get to the end of the season and feel completely unprepared for the school year ahead.
Wherever you fall in the Summer Break spectrum, this simple challenge will help you make the most out of your summer season.
Are you ready? Here it is: Between now and the end of August, find one or two things that are 1) Life-Giving, 2) Life-Keeping, and 3) Life-Sharing.
Find One Thing That Is…Life-Giving
This includes anything that nurtures your creativity and feeds your soul. You might take a painting class, start an herb garden, or cook your way through a fun cookbook. Visit a museum or take weekly walks in an outdoor trail. It can be anything.
This habit is more important than we often realize. It’s so easy to go about our routines and miss out on the life-giving, soul-filling gifts God surrounds us with every day. My friend, Trillia Newbell wrote an entire book called Enjoy, about this very idea. Her “Enjoy Project” challenges women to see everything – relationships, food, nature, art, rest, and even work – as gifts from God that we were created to enjoy! And, the more we do things that are life-giving, the more we’ll be in tune with the Giver. As Trilia says, “[W]hen we pause and learn to delight in these areas, we also learn to delight in God and give proper thanks and admiration. We can worship God while preparing a meal, riding a bike, or listening to a symphony.” (179)
So find that area of life that you want to invest in and cultivate purely for the enjoyment of it. Perhaps it’s reading novels for fun, or joining a book club; picking up a musical instrument you used to play, or playing a duet with another musician. Call that friend who lives hours away but you always love talking to. Or, get some friends together and have a sushi and movie night (my personal fav!).
Pick one or two things that you love to do over the course of the summer. Carve out time to invest in something Life-Giving.
Find One Thing That Is…Life-Keeping
Think of this category as an investment in the near future. It could be as small as cleaning out that junk drawer you can barely open or as large as re-organizing the whole garage. Whatever that one project is (you know…the one you’ve been putting off until you have “enough time”) just tackle it. Get it done. You’ll spare yourself a world of frustration or franticness in the coming months.
If you’re a teacher or homeschooling mom, you might take two weeks and plan the entire academic year. If you’re a student, you might knock out a summer class. Maybe you need to update your family filing system, revisit your financial budget and goals, or finish a home maintenance project. Perhaps you want to get yourself and your family in a cleaning routine that you can sustain when school starts, or maybe you want to organize a recipe book of go-to, never-fail weeknight dinners. It could even be as simple as getting yourself to the dentist!
This category is important, because the more we invest in it, the more we’ll redeem the time we have. And the more we redeem the time we have, the more we can fulfill the priorities and purposes God has given us. In her book, Life Management for Busy Women, Elizabeth George notes that when we line up our lives under God’s will, they will have an “an extremely efficient quality.” She goes on to explain: “We are no longer doing ‘things.’ We are no longer governed by the busy-ness of life. We internal begin doing the ‘right things.’ We begin to focus on doing the business of God.” (232)
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, check out More Hours in My Day, by Emilie Barnes and Sheri Torelli. Find those one or two projects and invest in something Life-Keeping this summer.
Find One Thing That Is…Life-Sharing
This category is all about investing in others. And the possibilities are ENDLESS. You could take dinner to a friend who is recovering from an illness or difficult treatment. You could bake cookies or host a cook-out for your neighbors. You might call an elderly relative, visit someone in the hospital, or clean the house of a new or pregnant mom. If you’re married, adopt a single woman in your church and cultivate a friendship with her. If you’re single, babysit for a married couple so they can have a date. It can even start with your own family, like cooking a beautiful dinner or special dessert, or reading out loud to your children.
Investing in Life-Sharing things expresses the life of hospitality that we’re all called to live (1 Pt 4) In her book, A Life That Says Welcome, Karen Ehman describes the heart of Christian hospitality as seeing your life as “a channel of God’s unconditional love to others within your sphere of influence.” (19) You and I can do that in a dozen different ways in our daily lives. Plus, this kind of hospitality doesn’t just happen within the walls of our homes. “After all,” says Ehman, “kindness knowns no limits, welcome has no bounds. We can seek to be the kind of Christian who makes others feel comfortable, loved, and wanted simply by being with them.” (185)
Often the smallest, most inexpensive gestures can make a meaningful impact, like texting a word of encouragement or sending a hand-written note. Clean out your closet and donate to a homeless shelter, or volunteer in a ministry that serves your community like a pregnancy center.
Whatever you choose, you’ll be sharing your life with nothing to gain but the joy of loving and serving others like Christ does. Find one or two things this summer that are Life-Sharing, and watch how the Lord works through you to love and serve others.
Are you ready to take this Summer Break challenge? Tell us the Life-Giving, Life-Keeping, and Life-Sharing things you’re going to do to make the most out of your summer in the comment section below.
 I stumbled upon this little idea and shared it with my students before their spring break. Whether it’s for one week or one season, these practical tips will help you make the most out of a break.