Summer is the time when I typically slip into a slump.
It’s the kind of slump which makes me avoid productive tasks, watch way too many YouTube videos, and look at political commentary far too frequently.
Last year, after starting my summer off by taking the SAT and ACT tests, I completely crashed. For several weeks, I sat around being an unproductive blob.
This year, I feel the temptation to do the same. I hear the subtle whispers in my head, “You’ve worked so hard this semester. You deserve time off.” I feel mentally exhausted after several months of going hard on dual enrollment college courses. Maybe it is time for a break. After all, summer is the time for goofing off, right?
Not quite. This “time off” is actually the prime opportunity for growth and productivity. I’ve discovered four reasons why I should use my summer wisely. If you’re anything like me (i.e. have the tendency to be lazy), read on.
1. Growing up is linked to love.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul says, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
I’ve heard this verse many times, but this time it struck me differently. Why would a verse about growing up be included in the Bible’s most famous love chapter?
Perhaps because growing up allows us to love more effectively. As we take on more responsibilities, as we learn new skills, we became more useful to those around us.
Growing up and taking responsibility for our actions, are signs of love to both those around us, and a way of expressing our love for God. This summer, we can utilize our increased maturity to effectively serve others.
2. We can be productive by exploring new passions.
Even though it’s important to be productive during the summer, it’s perfectly acceptable to engage in a different kind of work. Sometimes a bit of variety can greatly increase our overall productivity.
For example, I will not be doing very much formal schoolwork through the summer. However, I intend to read many of the books I’ve been hoarding away in my room. I also intend to spend time writing so I have an arsenal of articles built up, ready for my own blog and submission to other websites. While productivity is important, you can be guilt-free in pursuing new, more creative, ventures during the more laid back summer months.
3. Our time is not our own.
1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us that Jesus bought our lives at the price of his own. Because we don’t own our lives, we no longer have the right to squander our time. However, this doesn’t mean that relaxation and rest is prohibited. God doesn’t want us to be miserable workaholics who never find time for refreshment. 1 Timothy 6:17 says that God, “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
Entertainment can be a much-needed, God-given break from everyday tasks. However, God in his mercy and love knows that we don’t find fulfillment in entertainment. When we find ourselves tempted to spend an excessive amount of time on entertainment, we have to remember that our mission in life is to fulfill our God-given purpose, which will undoubtedly require all of our time and attention.
4. Time is more limited than it seems.
James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
I’m personally amazed at how quickly my time in high school flew by. Sometimes, I think young people fall into the trap of believing “they have their whole lives ahead of them.” This attitude can lead to apathy in how we use our time every day. Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We’re accountable to God on how we utilize the time he has given us.
Enjoy your summer!
None of this is to say that you should slave away during your summer. Rather, carefully guard your time from worthless distractions. Summer can be a beautiful, wonderful time for us to explore our interests, and make progress on the projects we started (but never finished) during the school season.
Have fun in the sun, spend some time relaxing and recharging, then jump right back in and enjoy your work!