For the entirety of our academic careers, whether they end with high school, college or graduate school, we are trained to view the summer as a time to rest and relax. During our early years so much of our lives revolves around an excited countdown to summer and the less exciting countdown to school. That rhythm is built into our lives for years but, once we finish with school, we’re also supposed to be finished with that rhythm.
I loved summer vacation as a kid. I loved getting out of school and playing G.I. Joes with my friends all day. I loved the long summer days, not because I was playing outside, but because they meant that I could stay later at my friends’ playing Magic: The Gathering. As a youth pastor, though, the summer has taken on an entirely new rhythm.
I love being a youth pastor and I love my summers as a youth pastor. I get to throw pool parties, go to amusement parks and spend two weeks at summer camp with high school and junior high students. This summer hasn’t been any different; I’ve loved every minute of it. Today, though, is the end of our ministry summer and I’m happy it’s coming to an end.
Our students go back to school next week, which means I get to take some time off to recover from the summer and prepare for the fall. When I was younger I hated when school started; now as an adult it’s one of my favorite times of the year. I love our students and I love pouring into their lives, but after a long summer I’m a little empty and need some time to replenish.
The rhythms of our lives are always going to change. When we’re younger our rhythms all about summer vacation, when we get a little older they’re about our careers and beyond that our rhythms become more about our families and children. Whatever rhythm we’re moving to, though, always needs to fall in line with God’s rhythm. God is our sustainer and provider no matter the phase of life in which we find ourselves. And we’ll never get out of sync faster than when we fall out of step with God.
At this stage of your life, what does the end of summer mean for you?