I think plenty of us right about now are praising God for summer and more importantly summer vacation. When I think of summer I think of the beach, sunny days, ice cream cones, friends sitting around a fire, and driving with the windows down. It is such an exciting time full of endless possibilities and a multitude of memories waiting to unfold. But one of the things we tend to neglect over this 3 month or more period is trying to get closer to God.
We settle into our fast pace of internships, retail jobs, Netflix series, and seeing family members. As college students, long gone are the days where we had the opportunities to serve God through high school mission trips and VBS programs. Long gone are the days where we ourselves were privy to learning more about Jesus at summer camps and church activities. So what do we do now?
It can be hard when we scroll through endless Facebook posts of friends charging off to minister to kids all summer at a summer camp, traveling to a third world country to do ministry, or who snagged an internship ministering to teens. It can begin to make us feel like our summer isn’t really important to God. How in the world can we be glorifying God by tolerating foreign people at our retail jobs, getting coffee for internship supervisors, or babysitting those kids from down the road you can’t stand? How can I possibly grow in my faith the same way as those who are posting their address for people to send them letters in Africa?
Well, if you are feeling that way I have some good news. This summer can be just as great of a way for you to grow in your faith, minister to others, and learn about your identity in Christ as those preparing the groundwork on the mission fields.
Psalm 139: 16 says, “ All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
No matter where God has called you to work or grow roots this summer, He has you there for a very specific reason. A specific reason to help and learn from specific people that are all part of His divine plan. Every day God presents us all with the unique opportunity to uncover His beauty that He has created just for us to notice. We can see this in the love of a friend, the kindness of a co-worker, the beauty of a summer sunset, and even the surprise of ice cream after a long day. Let’s not miss out on those opportunities to see God’s glory just because we aren’t at a Christian summer camp.
So what are some tips we can use to grow in our faith this summer? What are some ways we can glorify God in the job your parents forced you to get?
- Set aside time each day to grow and be in God’s presence.
You can’t find your potential in who God created you to be, grow in your faith, or glorify God if you spend all day too tired or too busy to spend time with Him. Yes, somedays the last thing you are going to want to do is come home from an 8 hour work day and traffic to curl up with your bible. The very last thing you might want to do in the morning is wake up earlier than the crack of dawn you were already planning to, leave your comfy bed, and spend time with God. But I assure you, the more you try to desire God the easier it will become. If you truly want to grow in Him and be properly equipped to help others see Him, this the first step you must take.
- Do all things to glorify Him.
No matter if it’s talking politely with a customer, not cutting corners on data entry, or folding the shirt properly the first time, nothing we do is pointless to God. Nothing slips His always watchful eye. If you believe in Jesus Christ, which I hope if you are reading this you do, then you have to believe that the hard jobs, annoying bosses, and pointless activities will matter in the long run. God will reward us for diligently working at jobs we can’t stand with people we can’t stand. It is a great way for us to witness to our employers, customers, and co-workers. What if all it takes to spark a conversation about Jesus is a co-worker wondering why you are always optimistic or work hard?
- Pray through the challenges
“ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Now I understand that it can be hard sometimes to set aside 20 minutes to pray to God uninterrupted, let alone thinking about it all day. We as Christians have been stuck believing the lie that every time we come before the Father we need to hide ourselves away in a quiet place, dwell in His presence for five minutes, even out our breathing, and read a bible verse before we are fully ready to engage with God. But that is a lie. I wholeheartedly believe that once a day we should try to engage in the practices stated above, but that would mean we are only conscious of God once a day. And He wants us to be as conscious of Him as much as possible. God is available and willing to talk to us 24-7. God isn’t going to answer a text message first, scroll through Twitter first, or have to take a second before engaging with us. He’s always ready.
This past year I have been reading the book Jesus Calling that talks about the trials, frustrating comments, and panic situations we find ourselves in every day as God’s way of saying “hey stupid, I want you to notice me.” Our trials and painful situations are the secret to a greater relationship in Christ. So we must try our best to come to Him first when we don’t know what the heck we are doing in our internships, don’t know how we can tolerate any more Canasians, and don’t know how to make it through the rest of the day. God knows how to get us there and He is waiting for us to come to Him with open arms.
So this summer don’t get hung up that you aren’t curing cancer or helping children from poverty stricken homes. God thinks that the person who keeps sneezing in the cubicle next to you at work is just as precious as these, but He still needs your help in reaching them.