From the LYWB.com Team: We’re praying for you to have an amazing, God-honoring summer. To help you have a vision for what that might look like, we’ve pulled some summer posts from our archives. You’ll love this one from Samantha loaded with great ideas for how to thrive.
Summer. What a happy word! It feels bright and joyful and tastes like ice cream. And s’mores. And iced coffee! It brings happy memories, as well as the anticipation of what’s to come in these beautiful months: family vacations, baseball games, bonfires, lake days, pool time, and warm, peaceful evenings. Three cheers for summer!
But summer also brings an opportunity that we often miss. It’s a time to cultivate personal growth. Yes, I hope you have a fun summer, but more than that, I want you to have a thriving summer. A summer where you seek Jesus and learn to love Him in deeper ways. A summer where you make goals—and meet goals. A summer where you learn new things and press onward toward spiritual, emotional, and physical growth.
Don’t waste these summer months. Take advantage of them, and have a thriving summer! Here are ten ways to make that a reality.
1. Keep developing self-control.
Once the school year ends, you can finally let out that big sigh of relief. You made it! And you don’t have to think about homework or class bells until next fall. So you loosen up, and settle into a summer mindset.
But be careful—summer doesn’t mean you can throw self-control and discipline out the window. Self-control applies to your life far beyond the school year, and we need to maintain boundaries throughout the summer. Without self-control, we’re vulnerable to compromises and sin (Prov. 25:28), and it’s not worth wasting a whole summer to sin and lack of discipline. Say “yes” to what’s beneficial; say “no” to what’s not beneficial to your walk with God.
Settle into a summer mindset—sunshine, green grass, popsicles, and no homework—but hold on to godly self-control.
2. Cultivate deeper intimacy with your Savior.
Make these summer months count for eternity by cultivating a deeper, thriving walk with Jesus Christ.
Summer often brings the blessing of a more relaxed schedule. If you find yourself enjoying unhurried mornings or quiet afternoons, recognize the amazing opportunity you have to spend extended time with God in His Word! Make these summer months count for eternity by cultivating a deeper, thriving walk with Jesus Christ. Discover the joy found in knowing and loving His Word.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word (Ps. 119:14–16).
There’s no greater way to thrive than in pursuing a relationship with your King. Pray that God would give you a greater desire and hunger for Him, and watch Him work.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Ps. 63:1).
3. Love people.
It’s tempting—and all too easy—to make summer about me, myself, and I. What movies do I want to watch? Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? But a thriving summer will be marked by a love for people that flows out of a love for Jesus. It’s about modeling the others-focused mindset of Christ. Putting others’ needs above your own, loving your siblings, honoring your parents, cherishing your friends—it’s how He wants us to love!
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:3–5).
A thriving summer will be marked by a love for people that flows out of a love for Jesus.
Loving people above yourself will look different for each of you, so you’ll need to pray and ask God to show you ways to grow in this kind of selfless love. But I can tell you this: Loving people is always, always worth it. It honors God. It showers others with goodness. It matters. If we’re going to thrive this summer, we’ll love people like Jesus does.
4. Get in shape—or stay in shape.
I’ll be honest, when I think of summer, the most activity I’d prefer to do is running into a coffee shop to get an iced coffee before I park it on the pier at the lake for an afternoon in the sun. Working out generally isn’t my cup of tea. But God’s Word is clear on this: We’re meant to honor Him with our bodies and steward them well.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19–20).
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
When the weather is beautiful, we should get outside and get active. Go running, ride your bike, take your little siblings to the park and push them on the swings, walk your dog, jump in the pool, join your church softball team, swim out to the raft at the lake, do cartwheels in your backyard, catch fireflies, organize an outdoor family game night, or have relay races with your cousins (a personal favorite of mine).
Be creative, and be active!
5. Soak in peaceful mornings.
Another honest confession: I’m not an early riser. I’m a snoozer down to the core. But I really do want to change, because I’m finding that mornings can be lovely. Rising early to soak in a peaceful morning provides us a chance to thank the Lord for His new mercies, bask in a glorious sunrise, and begin the day in prayer. We can journal, hum along to worship music, and breathe in fresh air.
Doesn’t that sound better than rolling out of bed at 11 a.m. and staying in our pajamas until 3 p.m.? Our good God has given us so much to live for—a divinely orchestrated purpose and a gospel mission to fulfill. Beginning our days with time for reflection, gratitude, and praise will set us on the right path for redeeming the time and glorifying Him with each day.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days (Ps. 90:14).
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress (Ps. 59:16).
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him” (Lam. 3:22–24).
6. Plug into your church.
This summer, don’t start skipping out on church services; get plugged in! We’re made to thrive in Christian community, and the local church serves that purpose.
Instead of thinking about how your church can serve you, start thinking about how you can serve your church. Look for ways to encourage and bless your youth leaders, be a group leader during VBS, volunteer to teach a Sunday school class, be an energetic participant at youth events, offer to give rides to younger teens to and from activities, or sing in the choir.
Imagine what we could accomplish for God’s eternal kingdom by getting wholeheartedly involved in our local churches!
7. Rest intentionally.
Rest is a good, good thing. We often need to reset, recharge, and be refilled—but we need to be careful to do that in beneficial ways. Keeping self-control in mind, we should consider what kind of rest would be best for us.
Some days, you might just need to take a nap, enjoy some fresh air by a lake or river, or play a game with your family.
Our times of rest should truly recharge us instead of draining us. More often than not, endless social media scrolling, video gaming, and movie marathons end up leaving us with less energy rather than providing more.
8. Read good books.
Grab on to the opportunity to learn more this summer. Read a biography about a missionary who impacted the world for Christ, pick up a book about DIY furniture reupholstering, or crack open a cookbook and start whipping up fabulous food. The possibilities are endless.
What’s so important about reading and learning? Thriving girls are girls who learn and grow. When we stop learning new things, we become stagnant, and ultimately, we stop thriving.
Not sure where to start? I just happen to know a place where you can find lots of good books that will help you grow in your walk with Christ—the Revive Our Hearts online store!
9. Watch out for Summer Camp Syndrome.
To merely say that I loved summer camp would be a massive understatement. I lived for summer camp. I would’ve told you that the camp I went to in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina rivaled Disney World as the “Happiest Place on Earth.” I was a dedicated camper, and I always grew so much during those weeks spent in cabins and on the Tube Tug field!
The problem was when I came home, I didn’t want be home at all. I wanted to keep learning and growing and experiencing a spiritual high back at camp. That’s what I call “Summer Camp Syndrome,” which I define as loving summer camp so much that you start to believe you can’t grow spiritually unless you’re at camp.
But here’s the truth: The Christian life isn’t meant to be lived only at camp. It’s meant to be lived out right where you are. You truly can come home from camp, live out the decisions you made, and continue to thrive! Why? Because you have the Holy Spirit within you. Yes, there are far more temptations at home than at summer camp, but when we rely on God’s power to live a godly life, He makes it possible!
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)— not just at camp, but all the time.
10. Leave space for dreaming.
Whether you think creatively all the time or you don’t believe you have a single creative stitch in your fabric, we are all created with a capacity for creative thinking, and we reflect our Creator when we dream and make and create.
From watercolor painting and calligraphy to solving problems and decorating rooms, we have all kinds of creative abilities, uniquely gifted to us according to our personalities and interests.
What better time to be inspired and to create than summertime?
Let’s rest and enjoy peaceful moments and use our creative talents to further His kingdom.
Compose songs, write poetry, capture photos of sunrises, learn hand lettering, plant an herb garden, hang wall decor, grow succulents—the sky’s the limit.
Let’s thrive in Christ together this summer. Let’s seek Jesus and His will and love others as He would. Let’s rest and enjoy peaceful moments and use our creative talents to further His kingdom.
I’d love to hear from you. What will you put into action during the summer months? Anything you’d add to the list?