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How to Make the Most of Summer Break

by Andrew Menkis posted June 14, 2022

I’ve lived on an academic calendar my entire life. From high school I went to college, from college to grad school, and after grad school, I became a teacher. This means that I’ve always had a summer break. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to work through the entire calendar year without a couple of months off! This break can look very different depending on what stage of life you’re in. Break looks different for students of varying ages, and of course it’s very different for those who are parents of students. Whether you’re looking forward to summer yourself, or you’re a parent and your kids are about to start their break, this is a time of opportunity. Without the daily routine and demands of school, margins of time become available. God wants us to be intentional about the way we use our time. In one of his letters, Paul calls Christians to “make the best use of the time” (Eph. 5:16). There are so many ways to do this; I’d like to give three simple suggestions as you think about how you might make the most of summer break.

1. Connect with God

The busyness of the school year can be consuming, especially the end of the year. Final projects, papers, exams, graduations, and parties (just to name a few things) take up a lot of attention and energy. Amid all this, it’s easy for our hearts and minds to drift from God. Perhaps you’ve spent less time reading the Bible or in prayer. Maybe you’ve skipped church, or perhaps you still went but felt distracted and disconnected. Summer break can be a time to intentionally connect with God and find spiritual refreshment. There may be extra time in the mornings to pray or study the Bible because you don’t have to get out of the house and make it to school on time. Or, maybe the evenings will work better since there’s no homework to do. Times of family worship and devotion might be easier to manage for the same reason. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of gathered worship in nourishing your faith and providing the rest you’re looking for. Go to church even when you’re on vacation. Spend time with fellow believers in confession, prayer, and Bible study. This type of fellowship will help you connect with God and experience spiritual renewal.

2. Enjoy God’s Creation

My second suggestion is to get outside and enjoy God’s creation. Whether that looks like a walk around the neighborhood or hiking up a mountain, pay attention to the beauty, goodness, and order of the world around us. Enjoy creation and bring your focus upwards, towards the God who imagined it all, then brought it into existence by his creative power! In one of his poems, King David writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). Scientists tell us that time in nature has healing power for our physical and mental well-being. The Bible tells us that when our engagement with nature leads to worship, our spiritual health will increase. The world God made tells us about who he is and allows us to get to know our creator better.

3. Serve Others

As you seek to make the most of your summer break, consider how God wants you to serve others. If you only focus on connecting with God for yourself, your faith will become inert. You see, God is love, and it’s the nature of love to overflow and extend to others. The more we experience the love of God as we spend time with him, the more we should desire to share that love with others. God wants you to love and serve others. Ask yourself, who is that person or those people? How does God want me to love them? It could be one person; it could be hundreds—God will use each of us in different ways.

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If you’re abiding in Christ, the natural outgrowth will be service to others. This is the case for every believer: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). God has prepared good works for you to do, will you walk the path he has laid before you?

Guilt, Grace and Gratitude

A list like this has the potential to cause some anxiety. If you’re like me, you might worry about wasting your summer and not making the most of it. You might feel guilty for not measuring up to the standard you’d like to meet or not achieving everything you set out to. A list like this can only be truly helpful when it flows out of the real and personal experience of God’s grace in Christ. Making the most of your summer break isn’t about following laws, it’s about responding to the free gift of salvation with gratitude. As you seek to make the most of your summer break, do so with joy and hope, knowing that even if you don’t make the most of everything, God’s love for you in his Son is unconditional!

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Andrew Menkis

Andrew Menkis holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland in Philosophy and Classics and an M.A. in Historical Theology from Westminster Seminary California. He is a high school Bible teacher whose passion is for teaching the deep things of God in ways that are understandable and accessible to all followers of Christ.

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