3 Easy Ways to Stay Connected with God this Summer
One of two things happens to my spiritual life during the summer: 1) It flounders or 2) It flourishes.
What? You, too?
I have a feeling more than a few of us share the same struggle.
Summer means less structure. Less commitment. Less hurry. Less stress. But it can also mean less connection with God and his people. Even though we want our relationship with God to remain vibrant, the lazy days of summer can lure us into spiritual laziness, melting our spiritual resolve as fast as ice cream on a hot summer day.
After teaching Bible study for years, I can pretty much count on hearing the same phrase every fall: “It’s good to be back! I haven’t read my Bible in….hmmm…gosh, I guess it’s been months.”
Vacations, kids’ activities, and the lure of the pool or beach means church attendance may suffer, too. These things can leave us refreshed physically, but starved spiritually.
But what if you could refuel yourself spiritually, as well as physically, this summer? What if, this summer, you didn’t flounder in your relationship with God? What if your connection with Christ actually flourished?
Less commitment doesn’t have to mean less connection. In fact, it can mean more!
3 easy ways to stay connected to God this summer:
1. Commit to leisurely read your Bible every day.
If you’re like most people, you don’t equate Bible reading with leisure reading. Reading for fun is more often associated with works written by Nicholas Sparks than the Apostle Paul. I get it. I love a good summer read as much as the next gal. But maybe we’ve looked at reading God’s Word the wrong way: a “have-to” rather than a “get-to”.
What if we tweaked our perspective just a smidge?
Summertime Bible reading allows freedom to read what we want at a pace that works best for us. One chapter a day? That’s cool. One Psalm a day? Cool. The entire New Testament this summer? That’s cool, too.
I like to pick a book of the Bible and work my way through it, just like I read a novel. I put myself in the shoes of the characters. Try it. The Bible will come alive in a new way. You’ll love it!
Whatever you decide to read, open your Bible and read something. Read unhurried. Savor the experience. Make notes in the margin. Journal your thoughts. Enjoy a great cup of coffee, or your favorite cold drink. Read by the pool, or under an umbrella at the beach. Read on a park bench while the kids play. Read at a coffee shop, or at lunchtime. Read in the evening before bed.
2. Go to church.
Hold on. Don’t stop reading. Seriously. You need to hear what I’m about to say. Goodness, I need to hear what I’m about to say.
This summer make a commitment to attend church. Why? Because you need it. How do I know? Because I need it, too.
Our enemy knows we need it, as well. Which is why he’ll throw anything and everything in our path to prevent us from getting there: exhaustion, laziness, bad attitudes, family squabbles, sickness, tardiness, other more “appealing” opportunities, kids’ sports, guilt, apathy. You name it; the devil can dish it out.
When my kids were younger we were never, ever late for school, but we were always late for church. For some reason (hmmm…) we just couldn’t get it together to leave for church on time. Now that they are older, the devil works on me. In fact, I’ve noticed a pattern as I dress for church–a thought, a memory, a worry, a concern–begins to eat away at my inner peace. There have been mornings I’ve had to will myself to go to church because honestly, I didn’t want to.
And I’m the pastor’s wife!
In moments like these, my “will-to” needs to win the war over my “want-to”. Occasionally, I have to give myself my own “talking to”: “Just go. You want regret it. And you need it.”
Our enemy knows our spiritual commitment, our emotional refreshment, and our psychological resilience gets rebooted through the power and presence of Christ, and His community. The worship refocuses us. The prayer reinvigorates us. The Word refuels us. The people restore us. The experience reminds us of who God is, who we are, and what this life is all about.
We need this. Our souls need this. Our kids need this, too.
Our enemy doesn’t want us to get what we need to stay connected to Christ, which is why he’ll try anything to get us off course. He knows something else, too.
When we disassociate with the people of God we inevitably disassociate with the person of God.
Oh, maybe not at first. But over time, it happens.
Other things seep in and become priorities, and before we know it, our relationship with God has become a distant second. Or third. Or forty-third.
Don’t let this happen to you. Make a commitment to go to church.
3. Look for an opportunity to serve
You know those extra summertime minutes you have? Use them to relax and unwind, but also use them to bless someone else. Nothing keeps us connected to God like serving people in Jesus’ name.
Frankly, sometimes we need to put ourselves in a position to need Jesus. Serving others does that.
It’s easy to live as if Jesus is a nice addition to our life rather than the sustaining force behind it. If I can do everything in my life without giving Jesus a thought, something is terribly wrong. And when I forget Jesus, I flounder.
When we serve, we stretch ourselves beyond ourselves. When we stretch, we grow. When we grow, eventually, we flourish.
So there you have it…three simple ways to keep your spiritual mojo and stay connected to Christ this summer.
You don’t have to flounder in your relationship with God; you can flourish. Flourish, and make this your best summer yet!
How do you stay connected to God during the summer? I’d love to know! (Subscribers, to leave a comment, click here and go to www.donnajones.org, rather than reply to email. That way, I’ll be sure to see the comment!)