This is the time of year when I inevitably start singing the Will Smith classic, “Summertime” in my head. If you’re not familiar, the chorus goes something like, “Summa, Summa, Summa tiiiime, time to sit back and unwind.” For most of you, your semester has ended or is coming to a close and you’re starting to decompress from the school year. Maybe you’re getting ready to start a summer internship or job. Or maybe you’re taking some much needed vacation time. Whatever your plans, summer is a crucial time to recharge, reorient, and recalibrate so that you can jump back into a new school year in the Fall.
Time to Connect, Not Fade
But summer can often seem like a time of the year where we disconnect from our relationship with God. We are away from our Greek IV fellowship and we might be busy with jobs, internships, classes, and/or study abroad experiences. I want to argue that summer can have the potential to help us thrive in our relationship with God.
Through spiritual disciplines, we learn more about who we are and more about who God is.
My challenge for you is to see the summer as a time to try out spiritual practices and figure how you best connect with God. Use this summer to help you develop rhythms of connecting with God that you can sustain during the school year. These rhythms are often called spiritual disciplines.
Spiritual disciplines often involve prayer, reading the Bible and connecting with Christian community. A spiritual discipline isn’t something that we use to control God or control our progress with him. Rather, it’s a tool that God uses to draw us closer to him. Through spiritual disciplines, we learn more about who we are and more about who God is.
This past April, I ran my first half-marathon. Prior to this, I had only been running for 2 years and the furthest I had run was a 5k. It was crucial for me to find a running plan and stick to it so that my body and mind could be as prepared as possible to complete 13.1 miles.
If making a plan and sticking to it is crucial achieving physical goals, why don’t we try a similar approach in our spiritual lives? Below are some questions to help you set up a spiritual routine for this summer. Some of these ideas might require you to grab your calendar and plan ahead. For me, if something is in my calendar, I am way more likely to do it. This plan doesn’t have to be rigidly followed, so don’t stress out if you get off track. Rather, it’s meant to be a guide to help you pursue God and deepen your relationship with him.
God is inviting your into a deeper relationship with him and summer could be the perfect time for you to set aside the intentional time this requires. Take some time and talk with God about your summer. How do you think he wants you to get to know him better?
Below is a sample spiritual plan from David, a Delta Sigma Phi from the University of Utah.
Summer Spiritual Plan
1) What are some spiritual activities that I want to try every day?
- Pray, not just for my needs and worries.
- Read my Bible and keep it on me rather than just leave it on my night stand (check out GreekIVs summer quiet time guide)
- Other suggestions: Connect to God through listening to worship music, try out a different way to pray each day (link for the IV prayer booklet), talk with God on your commute, while working out, or during another daily activity
2) What are some spiritual activities that I want to try once a week?
- Actively attend church, wherever you are at home or at school.
- Read and discuss a Bible passage with someone.
- Journal about how I have seen God work over the week.
- Other suggestions: Try out a new spiritual discipline each week, lead or participate in a summer Bible study group.
3) Once per month?
- Talk to someone who might have never heard about or talked about Jesus before.
- Other suggestions: Participate in a retreat of silence.
4) Once during the summer?
- Read and complete as much of the Bible as possible.
- Other Suggestions: Start and finish reading the gospel of John, finish a book on Christian spirituality.
What is your summer spiritual plan? Share it with us by tagging @greekiv and #summertime.