I’m happy to have Brittany from The Nested Nomad guest posting for me today. I enjoy reading her posts each week, so I’m really excited to be able to share one of her posts with you this week. Do you struggle with finding time to read your Bible and pray during the busy summer months? Brittany is sharing some tips with us today to help us maintain our spiritual habits during our busy schedules this summer. Check out her post below.
Winter is an invitation to curl up with our spiritual habits: to wrap ourselves in the Word of God like a cozy blanket, to layer on prayer like a favorite sweater, to hold tightly to our communities and whisper words of Christmas cheer around the table late into the night.
And as ready as I always am for the summer, I’m reluctant to throw off the security of winter. It’s easy for me to crawl out of bed and onto my couch for a quiet time, stealing a few more minutes of warmth with God and my coffee. It’s easy for me to stay in and pursue time with my husband, building our relationship like a fire, log by log with a few sparks.
Summer always seems to come rushing in with endless invitations for weddings and barbecues and birthday parties. Dan and I each work a little later, subconsciously taking advantage of the extra daylight. I wake up ready to tackle the day, flying out of my house and into the sunshine without so much as a glance toward my Bible and quick prayer in the car on my way to work.
Does this happen for you, too? I do welcome summer, but I dread the busyness that comes with it, and I worry about my spiritual habits as I start the day with all the energy of the sunshine and finish ragged and tired from the events of the day.
So how do we maintain our carefully crafted and well-tended spiritual habits once summer ramps up? I think the answer is in two parts: keeping the building blocks of our faith firm while leaning into the rhythms of summer to let our habits change and mingle with the warmth of the air.
Here are a few practical suggestions for you:
- Define your priorities. What are the spiritual habits that draw you closest to God? Perhaps it’s reading a chapter a day in your Bible, reading a devotional, writing in your prayer journal, meditative prayer, or fasting. Pursue those habits above all else, even if they need to look different in the summer. Though I change it up from time to time, my standard routine is to read a Psalm, read a chapter of whatever book I’m working through (it’s Hebrews now), and then journal for 5 or 10 minutes. Summer isn’t going to be the season for me to pick up an in-depth study of Jeremiah or Revelation — but for you, maybe it is.
- Take it outside. Take advantage of God’s Creation during its peak! You may want to take your Bible and coffee out on the patio in the morning or go on a prayer walk around your neighborhood. Go for a long hike or bike ride on the weekends, not necessarily praying the whole time (though, you could!), but just savoring the bounty of beauty God has for us. Watch your kids play outside and pray over their little hands and feet as they get dirty and use their imaginations to play pirates or mermaids. Channel your summer energy into a sunset walk with your spouse instead of extra hours at the office.
- Don’t let your giving slip. I firmly believe that giving financially is a spiritual discipline, and it can be an easy habit to fall out of in the summer. Bill, the pastor of our church, often talks candidly about the “summer swan dive” of giving, the result of people traveling or playing hooky from church, and thus, not contributing a tithe for that week. Just like I want to be a faithful in every financial and spiritual season, I want to be a faithful giver in every calendar season. If you’re not already doing this, consider setting your giving to be regularly withdrawn from your bank account so you don’t have to worry about missing a week or two during your summer getaway.
- Lean into your people. As I said before, and as we all know, summer is a season of events: barbecues and Fourth of July parties and kids’ pool parties and endless weddings. It takes a big mindset shift for me, but I’m starting to see these as precious times of community and celebration and not as energy drainers. Why wouldn’t I want to spend time outdoors, laughing and eating with my loved ones? I’m going to find every excuse I can to celebrate and enjoy these moments, and to create them when I can. I want to throw open the front and back doors of my house and let the parade of people come on through. I want to stir up the sangria and watch Dan grill the burgers and soak up every sweet flavor and moment. Makes plans to celebrate with and spend precious time enjoying your people, speaking words of life and enjoying their company.
- Find time to rest. But all that said, I’m still a human, and an introverted one at that. A big way that I connect with God is in quiet and solitude, so I need to intentionally create those moments in the busy seasons. I also struggle to connect with God in my scheduled quiet times if I’m not finding time to rest. Otherwise, I’ll set the alarm later and skip my reading time in the morning, or I’ll choose Netflix over prayer at night. Don’t be afraid to say no to events that will drain your energy or that you don’t need to be at. Your dad’s birthday? Yep, be there and enjoy it. Your great-aunt Linda’s cousin’s annual, 100-person backyard shindig? Skip it if you want to. You can use me as your excuse.
My hope for this year is not just to maintain my spiritual habits through summer, but to let them thrive in the heat and revitalize my sleepy spirit.
I encourage you to take these ideas and make them your own. How can you lean into your favorite parts of summer, whether that’s time outdoors, celebrations, or community gatherings? How can you turn these into opportunities to draw closer with God and your people?
Brittany blogs about living simply, gratefully, and adventurously at The Nested Nomad. She loves traveling with her mountain-man husband and writing about everything she sees. In her free time, you can find her wandering around outside or curled up on her couch reading, likely with a cup of coffee in her hand in either scenario. I hope you’ll take time to visit Brittany’s blog to read more of her work.