Spring starts slowly

It’s already the middle of spring, and even though it already feels a bit like summer (especially if you live in QLD!) the days are getting longer and you’re feeling like a much-needed break from school/uni/work is in order. Before summer brings the heat of #bikinibodyready, parties, long afternoon naps, weekends away, workworkworkworkwork and beach road trips I think that this time is ACTUALLY a time of preparation. How are you going to spend your 3 month uni break? You don’t want to get to February next year and wonder what happened to your summer holidays. I have a few ideas for you, so read on to find out how you can ease into the warmer weather and have your best summer break yet.

#1. Create a daily habit

All great things have a sturdy foundation.

 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” - Matthew 7:24-27

Start preparing for this summer by building a good foundation. What does a solid relationship with Jesus look like for you? Do you know someone who has a solid foundation in their faith that you want to learn from? Ask them about it! When the afternoon summer storms hit you want to be the house that did not fall!

How can you do this? Find a prayer that you love and pray it daily. Start a journal about where you saw God working in your life that day. Think of 3 people in your life that might need a bit of extra grace, and say a special prayer for them. Download a daily scripture app to get your daily dose of truth and apply it to your circumstances. Creating a regular habit is the key!

If you already have a daily habit of prayer, why not try creating a new habit of affirmation or service? The power of your words is strong, especially when you are extra aware of it! “the tongue has the power of life and death” – crazy! But true. If you’re keen on using your time to serve others, then my next point may interest you...

#2. Mission trip

“For it is in giving that we receive” – St Francis of Assisi

Have you ever thought of spending some of your free time on mission? Whether this looks like a full blown overseas mission trip, or a weekly commitment to help out for a few hours, this could become the best memory of your holidays. The Blind Eye Centre in Brisbane is a great place to volunteer with. Your local Vinnies, or aged-care home might also love a few extra hands!

Liam shares about his experience of going on mission:

When I entered my 20’s, I had a desire to do ministry and mission in a completely different way, away from home. This desire to go on mission combined with a growing desire to travel, go on an adventure and - I know it sounds cheesy - to find myself. I kind of wanted to test myself and see how I would do taken out of my community, away from my friends and family and away from my home culture. All of this was a bonus to the idea of doing an overseas mission trip - specifically to share the Gospel with other young people. I got to travel to upstate New York, working at a retreat centre that saw hundreds of high-schoolers and young adults come and go every week. And it was actually super challenging. Where I expected to grow in youth ministry skills, give talks, run small groups, engage with young people and grow in my faith - I actually ended up growing in resilience, humility and confidence. I still take time now to process how this experience has grown me and will continue to grow me in the future. It was tough, profound and is still hard to put into words, but I encourage you to pursue mission. Not just for the victories you will gain, but also the struggles you will face – this experience pushed me to seek God as my source of identity and strength.

#3. Join a summer youth/young adults group – or start one up!

Do you have a local group of young people your age that you connect with regularly? Youth or young adult groups are the best way to meet people who are on a similar journey to you. Catching-up over food, coffee or a fun activity can help to break the ice and build awesome relationships. Regular meet-ups help you to get comfortable to inspire one another in your faith, encourage those good habits we talked about earlier, and share about what life has been throwin’ your way. Make it faith focused! Be intentional and courageous in your decision to have a Christ-centred group so you know that it will always be life-giving.

If your church doesn’t have a regular group for youth or young adults, why not offer to start one up? Have a chat with your Parish Priest or youth coordinator to see what your best options are. Send out a few messages or advertise it a little to see who else might be interested. Invite a friend from school or work – you might be surprised at who else is keen to come along! We have some great resources that can kick-start your groups if you’re in need of a little structure to get you going. Check out our Ignite Grow: Follow resource here: www.igniteyouth.com/faithseries

Most of all, be patient with yourself! These can all sound like great ideas, until you try to do them all at once. Spring starts slowly; the flowers begin to grow as they need to, the weather warms and the sunshine lingers for just a few more minutes each day. Channel your inner St Therese of Lisieux by starting small and steady. God’s timing can sometimes feel slow compared to our impatience, but God doesn’t wear a watch, He has everything perfectly planned out. Your small (or big) steps ON the journey are what matters!

“A life with Christ is the greatest adventure.”