Don't waste your summer!

Posted by Patrick Henry College on 6/10/24 7:17 AM

5 tips for a more productive summer

Do you feel like your summers are busy but unproductive? Like you aren’t really doing anything—your wheels are just spinning? Even worse—do you feel like even though you're doing nothing you still  feel unrested?

Augustine warned that the root of sin is turning and collapsing inwards into ourselves. This observation should inform how we spend our summer. If summer becomes a time of self focus, it will be destructive to your soul, and you will not end this time feeling refreshed. 

Here are a few suggestions for setting yourself up for a restful, meaningful, and productive summer that honors the Lord and strengthens your relationships.

1. Seek opportunities to serve

Whether you have more free time or less free time during the summer, it is a great time to seek opportunities to serve. Perhaps a Christian camp needs volunteers. Maybe your neighbor needs help with moving. Your church might need substitute Sunday school teachers for the weeks teachers are traveling. Make time to talk, listen, and suffer with a friend who is struggling through a difficult season. Don't so fill your schedule that you lack time to be present for others. Pray that the Lord would give you opportunities to bless the people around you. 

2. Show hospitality 

Scripture exhorts us to practice hospitality (Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2, etc.). Hospitality is important for two reasons: First, it is a way to demonstrate our belief that our resources aren't our own and are free gifts intended to be stewarded for the Kingdom. Second, hospitality opens doors for the gospel.

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In Matthew 22 Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast. When the invited guests don't come, the king commands, "'Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good," (Matthew 22:9-10). It is interesting that Christ here draws an analogy between salvation and the act of being welcomed to a feast— welcomed home, welcomed in. In a small measure, we get to live the gospel in opening our homes and giving away our time and resources. Hospitality does not need to be extravagant. It may look like having a few friends over for games and popcorn. But it should be a way for you to live the gospel in real time and open doors for you to share the gospel with your neighbors. 

3. Find or be a mentor

Learning and growing into the men and women God made us to be ought not be confined to fall and spring academic semesters. The summer is an excellent time to grown in this area. Consider asking an older man or woman in your church to mentor you, either to teach you something specific or to mentor you in your life and faith overall.

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Alternatively, can you find someone to mentor? Maybe there is a high-schooler at church that could use some encouragement. You don't need to set up a formal mentor relationship—try regularly meeting for coffee (or maybe have them over and make coffee...what a great time to practice hospitality!).

4. Consistent time with the Lord

Absolutely do not let time with the Lord each day be optional. Make a routine and stick to it. Even if some days it can only be five minutes in the morning, ensure that you regularly set aside time to read and pray and fix your mind on Christ. 

This is crucial because you become like what you behold—what you fix your eyes on, what you speak about, what occupies your thoughts. If you want to be transformed into the image of Christ, your mind must be stayed on Him. 

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."

5. Learn to rest

Learn to rest. By rest we do not mean passively entertaining yourself and checking-out of reality (e.g. dooming-scrolling social media or binge-watching a new Netflix special). You will find that these activities leave you drained, worn, and weary. 

Rest begins with worshiping God. Josef Pieper writes in Leisure: The Basis of Culture, “The vacancy left by absence of worship is filled by mere killing of time and by boredom, which is directly related to inability to enjoy leisure; for one can only be bored if the spiritual power to be leisurely has been lost."

Rest is one of the first things God created in Genesis, and its importance throughout Scripture is hard to understate. He saved Israel from Egypt and saves us from sin in order that we might rest (Deut. 5:15, Hebrews 4:6-11, Mathew 11:29).


If you're struggling with what it means to rest, here are our recommendations: First, make sure you always start by worshipping God. Pray, read your Bible, thank the Lord and continue in these activities while you rest. Second, pick an activity that is not strenuous but productive in some way. Read a book, tend a garden, go on a hike, enjoy fellowship with friends and family, paint a picture, etc. And while you do these activities, continue to worship the Lord. 

Rest is difficult at first. Our brains are wired by social media, our fast-paced, 24-hour news cycle, and our constant consumption of digital media to be entertained and distracted. But the more you rest, the easier it becomes to say "no" to distraction and quiet your mind before God. You will also likely find yourself less anxious, and more able to be present in everyday moments. 

If we do not answer His call to “be still and know that I am God,” we will be swept along in the hurry and restlessness of the world. Rest in the Lord, in Him alone will your summer be meaningful.

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 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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