Make This Summer About Renewal by Jen Lawrence

You have taken off your old self with its practices

and have put on the new self, which is being renewed

in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

– Colossians 3:9-10

With its slightly slower pace and beautiful weather, summer is a wonderful time for spiritual renewal. Just as we put on new clothes to mark the new season (hello cute dresses and flip flops!), summer can be a wonderful time to “put on the new self.”

I’m a huge fan of the idea of new wineskins for new wine.  If we want to breathe freshness into our spiritual life, we need to change some of things we do. Summer can offer up an excellent opportunity for change. Here are some simple ideas:

  • Seek out Christian fellowship. Summer is a great time to try out some new churches if you have yet to find a home. Many cottage communities and tourist destinations have churches that are eager to greet new people. In the summer, there are not as many programs running so the ministers may have more time to talk.
  • Review your schedule. Time away from normal routines allows us to hit the pause button and do a quick check-up of how we are living our lives. It’s so easy to get caught up with our busy routines – work, driving the kids around, paying the bills – and summer is a great time for a reset. How much quality time are you spending with your family? What are you doing to nurture and cultivate your friendships? Are you spending some quality time with God? This should not be an exercise in guilt. God made you who you are and if you are a handbag-loving woman who loves going to the beach, make sure to build in some shopping and beach time into your life.
  • Tackle a bad habit. A change in routine can make it easier to break bad habits. If you’ve been wrestling with smoking, or over-spending, or eating too much sugar, summer may be a good time to try to stop. This year, I found myself falling into a terrible habit of gossiping about others. I’ll be using the break from routine to stop this habit going forward.
  • Spend time in prayer. I have a confession to make: when times are good, I have a tendency to let prayer slide. (I’ve finally admitted that listening to worship music in the car is not a substitute for real conversation with God.) This summer, I plan to spend a few quiet moments each day in focused prayer.
  • Read some inspiration material. I’m a big fan of the beach read and a stack of juicy tabloids (see the gossip point, above), but this summer, I’m diving into inspirational texts. I love Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited and just about anything by Joyce Meyer. Eat the Cookie…Buy the Shoes is a particularly great title for summer.

This summer, in between picnics and road trips and visits to the beach, think about “trying on a new self.” The goal should be to end the summer with sun-bronzed skin, sandy feet, and a beautifully renewed spirit.