We talk a lot about living an intentional life around here. It means a lot of different things we know, but for us, within the context of this SingleRoots community, it means making our time count for the Kingdom.
We realize that not everyone in the world gets the summer off. (Congratulations to the teachers of the world. We’re so
jealous of happy for you!) Regardless of your career situation, though, there is something about summer that is refreshing and slower. It just feels like people take time to do some of the things they forget to do throughout the year.
So in the spirit of a slower pace, we thought this summer could also be a time where we as a SingleRoots community pause to notice others and take an account of the needs around us with a little more clarity than we do the rest of the year—a time to focus on living a more intentional life.
We’ve come up with 5 simple ideas for making your summer count—a variety of actionable ideas that can be put into practice whether your schedule stays the same or you’re on the beach in Hawaii (bless your heart) or you have a slim bank account.
1. Invest in a Family
There are many reasons a family might need you: they are going through a difficult time, they don’t have any family of their own nearby, they are unchurched or new to the area. Investing in a family doesn’t mean you have to become their go-to person for free babysitting, although that is certainly a way to minister to them.
Some ideas: Give them a gift card to a restaurant so they can go out to eat or plan a game night and invite the whole family over to your house to hang out. Plan fun days for each of their children individually throughout the summer: take the younger daughter to the park, teach the middle child to bowl, or take an older child to a cultural event. And, yes, send the parent(s) out for the night and watch the kids for them.
2. Kindness Day
In an effort to live a more intentional life and to become more in tune with the needs around them (of both strangers and friends alike), we heard about three people who decided to declare every Thursday as a day where they perform at least one, if not more, random acts of kindness.
They also created a private Facebook group where the three of them would have to report in with a photo of their actions for the day. The purpose of the photo wasn’t so their left hand could know what their right hand was doing; the purpose was for accountability. They don’t live in the same town and they knew if they just said they would perform an act of kindness, they would get busy with their daily lives and miss opportunities.
Forcing themselves to report in has only heightened their joy with the project. They can see how it is changing their focus, and they’re find themselves thinking of ways to encourage and meet the needs of others far more than they did before.
3. Host a Social Event
Start a book club, organize a bike ride, have a dinner party, host a Pinterest Party, an movie watching party or a backyard barbecue–whatever your latest interest is. But instead of just inviting all of your close friends, be intentional about the guest list. Are there people you know who need to make more friends? What co-workers do you want to build a deeper relationship with? What about that person you’ve wanted to invite to church? What better way to have thoughtful conversations with people than over a good book or around the dinner table?
Since everyone won’t know each other, have conversation topics ready to discuss. Sure, there’s a chance it could be awkwardly quiet from time to time, but there’s also a chance it will go really well, and you’ll find you’re building better relationships with people who might not even know Christ.
4. Meet Your Neighbors
We live in a world where people are quick to pull into the garage and not interact much with the people around them. And if you happen to live in an apartment complex, the chances are even higher that you don’t know your neighbors.
Another way to live an intentional life this summer is to make it a point to get to know the people who live around you. Take them a plant. Stop to talk to them when they’re out walking or doing yard work. Invite them over for the social event you’re planning. Strike up a conversation at the community pool. The world is at our doorstep, and many times we focus on everyone else but them.
5. Send Mail
It’s true that people rarely send real mail anymore. The flip side is that it makes someone’s day to receive something other than a bill or catalog in their mailbox. Each week this summer, take note of the people who need encouraging in your life. If you don’t have time to sit down and write them actual letters, then buy some cards and write quick notes to let them know you’re thinking of them and praying for them.
Even if you see them regularly, people feel valued when someone stops to jot a note of concern in this hurried day and age. Furthermore, if you don’t see or talk to them in person very often, sending a note to let people know you’ve been praying for them can minister in unseen ways.
What are other ways we can live a more intentional life this summer? Leave a comment with your ideas!