How to Not Waste Your Summer

people hiking in sunny forest
Twelve weeks is about all we get. After seemingly endless months of winter and the stresses of school and flu seasons, we have around 84 days to bask in the joys of summer. Sonic happy hour. Strolling downtown on a summer evening. Maybe a trip to the beach.

Even for those of us who aren’t students (or teachers), the extra hours of daylight pull us outside and back to our childhood memories of pool parties and the ice cream truck.

But it won’t last long. This summer — like every summer before it — will go by fast. In just a couple short months, we’ll be ordering the first pumpkin spice lattes of fall and wondering where summer went.

I hope we will look back on these summer months without regrets. It can be so easy to spend huge chunks of time binging on TV shows or filling our days with other media — yes, I know how exciting it is to have time to fill with “doing nothing.”

Summer is a great time to rest from responsibilities and have fun. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a movie or relaxing by the pool, but let’s be creative and intentional with how we spend our extra time this summer. To keep our entire summer from melting into wasted time, here are a few ideas for making the best use of our summer season:

  1. Make plans with someone you’ve been meaning to connect (or reconnect) with.
  2. Set aside an hour and read your Bible. Just start somewhere and keep reading in order for the entire hour.
  3. Volunteer at least once.
  4. Talk to an older member of your family about their life memories.
  5. Go somewhere you’ve never been — even if it’s just the mom-and-pop restaurant two blocks from your place.
  6. Read two or three or five books (it’s not as hard as you may think).
  7. Invite someone new to your church or community to go with you to an event. Introduce them to others.
  8. Plan your own event. Invite some good friends and some people who might benefit from getting to know you and your friends.
  9. Ask someone in leadership at your church how you can help them or if they know of a church need you could help out with.
  10. Visit someone in the hospital.
  11. Pick at least two days and hold them completely blank. When the days come, fill one with rest. Fill the other with helping others: mowing a neighbor’s yard, watching a church family’s kids, or just spending time with an elderly person in a retirement home.
  12. Ask God what you need to do that you’ve been putting off. Do it.
  13. Create something. Maybe it’s artwork or a blog post or woodwork. Maybe it’s dinner.
  14. Memorize a Bible passage.
  15. Go on a day trip within your state.
  16. Set aside a specific time regularly for prayer. Ask God to guide your decisions and to grow you this summer, and make sure to reserve some of your prayer time for the needs of others.
  17. Go on a walk with a neighbor.
  18. Check out a library book from a section of the library you don’t normally visit.
  19. Listen to your pastor’s most recent sermon in the middle of the week. Write down anything you don’t remember hearing the first time.
  20. Go see a kids’ movie in a theater. Bonus points if you take a niece or nephew (or honorary niece or nephew) with you.
  21. Write out your testimony.
  22. Choose a Bible passage or story you know well. Read it over and over until you see something in it you had never noticed before.
  23. Write a letter to a family member (grandparent, parent, sibling, cousin).
  24. Plan a hike or bike ride and invite a friend along.

I love summer. Dripping ice cream cones, fresh watermelon, free time, vacations. Like all of the seasons, summer is a gift from God for us to enjoy and to steward well. These summer months can be full of growth and maturity as well as rest and fun. Let’s have fun this summer — and let’s also use our free time this summer to grow closer to God and others.

In a few months, maybe we can meet up with a friend and share how much God taught us this summer. And sip our pumpkin spice lattes together.

Copyright 2019 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lauren Dunn
Lauren Dunn

Lauren Dunn is a writer and toddler teacher, and she blogs at These Traveling Days. She loves to read books that are so good they make her want to crawl into their stories, and she can never have enough of her favorite Pixar movies or chocolate chip cookie dough.