Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nobody Wants a Wasted Summer

For many, summer is a time of relaxation, family vacations, and days spent in the sunshine! And by God's grace, we are blessed with this warm, sunny season every year. This summer, I want to invite you to more than the status quo -- a summer with more than laughter and tan lines. Now, I know what you're thinking, "if I end my summer with a glowing tan and a ton of fun Instagram pics, I'd call that a good one!" And I wouldn't necessarily argue with you. But what if there's MORE? What if you could have a great summer?

This year, my summer will involve lots of travel. I will spend extended periods of time in a total of 4 states, all while living out of a suitcase. If you know me, you'll know this has been stressful from the time it was even just an idea, let alone an actual plan. But, I am trusting God to give me the grace, patience, and strength that I need to persevere! Throughout this time of traveling, I will experience God in a couple different contexts -- first on an Athletes in Action summer opportunity (Urban Project Los Angeles). I'm eager to love on students and folks in the LA community, grow in my faith, and learn more about who God is. I'll also have the opportunity to experience a time of refreshment, learning, and growth at Cru's National Staff Conference. In conjunction with planned events, Tyler and I will have a chance to catch up with friends and family! All in all, I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.

If at the end of my travels, I've made it through all I've listed above, I would say it was a good summer. A success. But I long for much deeper. A summer of intentionality. I invite you to join me! Ok, so practically speaking...

Make a plan for your Spiritual growth. I recently heard wisdom shared comparing our Spiritual lives to our "athletic" lives. When you desire to gain muscle or lose weight, do you just wish for it to happen? No! You make wiser food choices and get into a workout routine (or at least you should, because wishing to get in shape while actively doing nothing about it will get you no where, sorry). Same goes for our Spiritual life. We can't just wish we could grow more mature in our faith -- we must workout our Spiritual muscles! How? Read your Bible. Start a Bible study or devotional, even just something on your own [I'd highly recommend Shannon Ethridge's Completely His series or Beth Moore's Breaking Free]. Get connected & spend quality time with other Christians (church, Bible study groups, etc.).  Saturate your mind with things of God. Spend time in prayer -- both speaking and listening. Check out a sermon series online. How will this look for me this summer? Well, aside from whatever curriculum will be provided for me at Urban Project and at Staff Conference, I am looking at going through Kay Arthur's Lord, I Want to Know You to deepen my understanding of who God is. I also plan to continue  my Bible in a year reading plan, praying for miracles, and trusting God in my daily life. How will it look for you?

Pick up a good book! Summer is a great time to read. I know I find myself with more free time in the summer months -- or at least in more "prime reading" situations (travel, beach, pool). Although I read regularly as a part of my job, summer reading allows freedom and a time for more light reading. Some I've recently read and would recommend are (although, not all are fun and light reads):

As (an early) birthday gift, my Mom gave me a Nook HD+ which I am stoked about, especially doing so much traveling this summer. I've been browsing the "under $2.99" ebooks and came across one I just began reading, so I don't know that I can recommend it, but as of now I'm enjoying it -- How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue. I also plan to grab a couple paperbacks from my bookshelf that have been collecting dust, waiting to be read, to accompany my journey this summer.

Intentionally catch up with friends. With more time, spend some of it with the people you love! Browse LivingSocial or Groupon for fun, discounted events to embark on with local friends. Plan Skype dates with family and friends across the country or overseas. Download the SnapChat app and stay connected through silly photos, across the miles. Or send a card or package to someone, just because you've been thinking about them! You won't regret investing time into your relationships! I know I'm eager to see friends and family this summer, and looking forward to making memories with them!

Don't waste your summer. Bottom line, I do hope you choose to join me in seeking to have a great summer, one full of purposeful plans to grow in your walk with Christ! 

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." - 2 Peter 3:18

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