In my book, I talk quite frankly about how we need to be honest with ourselves in order to have effective relationships with others and with God. This means we need to remain vigilant regarding our prayer life, our sense of family and community, and our commitment to personal discipline—financially, professionally, and emotionally. Even if summer means “down time” to most of us, we can incorporate our daily disciplines and routines into more relaxed summer schedules.
For me and for others, workout time is key. I suggest using these times during which we run, lift weights, take an exercise class, or do other activities to reflect and give some much needed conversation with ourselves and with God. We can think about where we need some guidance in our lives and to offer those issues and concerns to God. A part of our armor against the enemy, we always keep our “belts of truth” on, therefore, we must remember to stay honest in our prayer and our interaction with God. When interacting with Him honestly, we are able to pray and think on things that we might want to let go of a bit during the more laid back summer, but, through our conversations with Him, we are able to prioritize things in life, see it all more clearly, and make sure that we do not neglect any responsibilities, initiatives, or future goals.
On a similar note, when we are honest with our families and communities, we benefit as well. I’m not suggesting that summer is going to prompt us to abandon our values and goals in life, I’m simply saying that with the more relaxed lifestyle, the temptation to leave finances unattended or to slack off a bit at work is more prevalent as is the desire to often “play” more and work less. Another summer activity that I enjoy is dining out with family or barbecuing. Just as we can multi-task and pray during our summer workouts, we can use these gathering times over meals to actually talk to our families—find out what our kids are doing or discuss vacation or other plans that involve finances and planning with our spouses. Recalibrating or touching base with our loved ones several times a week will help us focus on what is important.
If we look at summer as a time to jumpstart our faith and our personal disciplines, and if we make that jumpstart fun and part of a healthy, laid back summer lifestyle, the planning becomes pleasant and, as a result, more long-term. So take out that grill and those new recipes and plan to have some sit-down time with the family over a nice dinner. Put on those running or exercise shoes and plan to have a quiet, one on one dialogue with God over a healthy, invigorating workout. Honesty and discipline do NOT take the summer off, and making sure that our “belt of truth” is in place and ready for use in prayer and reflection is a sure way to keep our personal lives and faith active and interesting during the summer months.