4 Ways To 'Stay Awake' This Summer
I am not particularly well disciplined, neither am I a man of routine...
The idea of checklists, diaries, calendars and getting up early on a Saturday morning to ‘seize the day’ gives me slightly sweaty palms. As a teacher the routine of term time helps to give me structure, which certainly helps when it comes to my time with God.
However, the 6 weeks I get off over the summer present me with a problem. Although it’s great to be able to rest and recover at the end of the year, I sometimes find myself in ‘shut down mode’ and my walk with God can suffer as a result.
I remember it being particularly tough when I was a student. For 2 or 3 months I’d leave my friends, my church and my Christian Union behind to go home to a completely different set of challenges.
Over the years I’ve discovered some of the most important things to remember when seeking to ‘stay awake’ as a Christian over the summer. I’m afraid if you clicked hoping to find a solution for your narcolepsy or other general sleeping issues you will be disappointed…
1) Change your thinking
Firstly, we need to change our mindset when it comes to knowing God. The primary way to know God more is by reading His word and meditating on it. We can often see reading the Bible and praying as a chore rather than a joy. However, reading God’s word and being in His presence is good, and it’s good for us. It aligns our will with God’s, helping us to stay awake in our faith and resist getting caught up by everything that the world appears to offer.
2) Set targets
If reading God’s word is good for us and is helpful in all circumstances, we can’t see it just as a quick fix to pick up and drop. We want to be like the person described in Psalm 1 ‘whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night’, but it’s not easy.
When it comes to reading the Bible, setting regular targets is incredibly helpful. I’ve found it most beneficial to read through whole books at a time. Although some people find Bible reading ‘plans’ useful, I’ve found that jumping back and forth from book to book can be a bit disorienting. It’s like when I’m watching 4 different box sets on Netflix and I start thinking that Walter White is about to run for the President…(see Breaking Bad and The West Wing for references).
A good challenge to set yourself over the summer is to read the Gospels and write down everything that Jesus tells his followers to do.
Or as you read just ask yourself three simple questions such as:
What is God doing in this passage?
Where do I see Jesus in this passage?
What does God require of me now in thought, word and action?
3) Do it with others
Find some people to do it with! Sharing is caring.
4) Get into a routine, EARLY
Finally, don’t wait to start. After all… “If you aim at nothing, you’ll probably hit it.”
Set your alarm clock and get into the habit of spending time with God before you do anything else in the morning. I’ve set aside 20 minutes in the morning before work, which is shorter than ideal, but it gets me focusing on God; gives me an opportunity to boast of Christ and to acknowledge my helplessness without Him; and keeps me awake to all that God has for me.
James Lee is Head of Communications at Something More. He is also a teacher and lives in Bristol with his wife where he has discovered a new found love for power drills.