It’s the end of another long year. You rush out of school, finally arrive home, flop on the sofa and… And what? Suddenly, you find yourself with six empty weeks ahead of you (or longer for some of you!). While the thought of watching endless movies and episodes of various TV series every day for six weeks sounded thrilling in the middle of your exams, now, it may actually sound a little daunting!
In Ephesians 5:15-16, the apostle Paul says:“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
God wants us to make the most of our lives because we don’t know how long we have! God wants us to go out and make “wise” choices about what we do with our time, and yes, that includes the summer holidays! He wants you to be able to look back at your summer when September comes and to be able to say that you’ve done something worthwhile.
Christian camps or festivals can be a really good way to deepen your relationship with God, make new friends, and gives you a great opportunity to share what God’s been up to when you get home. The biggest of these, Soul Survivor, runs for several weeks in Scotland, Stafford and Somerset, where thousands of young people meet with one purpose – to worship God. There are also various seminars, sport venues, and places to find out information about gap years and volunteering opportunities.
But why wait? Volunteering not only stands out on your CV or personal statement, but is a really fun way to give something back over the summer. Websites such as Do-It can help you get started and find you something to occupy your summer. The Bible says “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38) and it’s true – volunteering is incredibly rewarding and definitely worth giving some time to. You could always get a group of you to volunteer together if you don’t like the thought of going it alone.
And if you can’t convince your mates to volunteer with you, why not meet up and start a Bible/prayer challenge? Encourage each other to read a book from the Bible each week, then meet up and chat about what you’ve learnt. Alternatively, you could check out Open Doors’ World Watch List and spend each week of your summer praying for a different country where Christians face persecution. Praying together is powerful, as Jesus says in Matthew, “if two or three people come together in my name, I am there with them”.
But don’t stop when summer ends! On September 15th, Open Doors are launching their “Wake Up and Pray” campaign. For six Mondays, we’re challenged to wake up early, giving up some comfort in our lives to make a stand for our persecuted brother and sisters around the world. It might seem like a hard thing to do, especially on a Monday morning, but God can move in incredible ways when we let him in.
Whatever you decide to do with your summer, make sure you enjoy it! There’s no point spending time doing something you don’t enjoy – summer is supposed to be fun. Spend some time praying before you make any decisions and see where God wants to use you.
Have an incredible summer – make it count!