I'm not a youth pastor anymore, but I still enjoy the summer. I don't really feel the summer break as much as I did as a youth pastor, but with Alycia teaching I'll feel it a little bit. Here's a #TBT post about making the most of our summer vacations.
Last night we had our final night of youth group for the school year. It’s always a bittersweet night, saying goodbye to the seniors but knowing that I have a few Tuesday offs in the future.
Working with students I’ve never had to get out of the rhythm of summer vacation. We push hard from August-May during the school year and then tone things down a little bit during the summer. I don’t take the summers off but we have more trips and special events as opposed to the weekly grind of youth group.
So even though I haven’t been in school for five years, I still feel like I get something of a summer vacation.
That mindset can be a little dangerous, though.
Whether we get a summer vacation, three-week vacation or just a less busy season at work, those down times can be dangerous. During our down times we want to take a break, we want to relax. When we’re busy we live with so much intention and focus that, when we’re not busy, we want to live with a little less intention and focus.
Unfortunately that sometimes means losing intention and focus in our lives with God.
Like Kirk at the beginning of Star Trek II, who traded his captain’s chair aboard a starship for an admiral’s chair behind a desk, we can lose a little focus. Kirk’s purpose, which had been fueled by the excitement of exploring the universe, began to fade away.
I think King David also fell into a similar trap. After his kingdom was secure and he enjoyed the spoils of his efforts, he stumbled into sin.
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. – 2 Samuel 11:1
At the time when he should have been off at war, living with purpose and intention, David decided to stay at home. Instead of fighting with his men, he was wandering around the palace. Then, one night, he wandered to the roof, spotted Bathsheba and became an adulterer and eventually a murderer.
David decided to take a break from war but he also took a break from pursuing God.
We can’t make the same mistake.
Whether we’re anxiously awaiting summer vacation or just a break in our busy schedules, we can’t see down time as an opportunity to check out from God. I’m all for resting and relaxing, just not from God. Just because we’re going on vacation doesn’t mean God doesn’t want to work in our lives. If anything, on vacation God has a better opportunity to speak to us, he doesn’t have to contend with all of our normal distractions.
I told our students to think about who they’ll be on the last day of school and who they’ll be on the first day of school. If they want to be the same or worse, then they don’t have to do anything. But, if they want to be better, if they want to be different, if they want to be more the people God created them to be, then they need to do something.
And when looking at our vacations or breaks, if we want to be the same or worse at their conclusion, then we don’t have to do anything. But if we want to be better, if we want to grow, if we want to be different, then we have to do something.
I’m all for vacations. Just not taking one from God.
How do you keep your focus and intention on God during vacations or down times?