As I was recently getting my 1 year old out of the stroller, I noticed for the first time in quite a while there wasn’t gallons…
Swim parties, BBQ’s, Beach Nights — Summer usually brings extra hangout time for us all. And since we are likely doing this “hangout time” with the people we love, why not maximize the time together? I’m not saying we should always come with an agenda…but then again, maybe I am.
But the agenda is simple and commendable: Be a blessing to people!
Actually, that’s not a unique agenda to Summer activities, it’s just what Christians do. Or at least, what we should do. We ought to already be others-centered people; Summer just brings new types of opportunities!
With that said, here are 3 ways to maximize your time with people this Summer:
#1 Pray beforehand
“Being a blessing” means different things at different times. Sometimes people need a listening ear and other times they need someone to speak truth to them. Sometimes they need a shoulder to cry on, and other times they need tough love and accountability. And sometimes they simply need time with people who love them. Yet most of the time, you’ll have no idea who needs what going into your time together! Hence, you need to pray and ask God for wisdom and guidance. Though we don’t always know what they need, God does.
Ask God to give you eyes to see how you can come alongside whoever you spend time with. He already knows who you’ll spend time with next week and he knows how they’ll benefit from your encouragement (or your time, or your love, or your accountability, etc). So just ask him to use you.
In addition to prayer, it’s good to adjust our mindset before we hangout with people. And what I mean by that is, it’s easy to keep our eyes on our self and head straight into time with others with the same inward focus.
If you want to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, you’ll likely need reminders to think outside yourself. You’ll need to remember you’re not the only one with a lot going on. You’ll need to remind yourself to listen more and talk less. Selfishness is our M.O. and it takes intentionality to operate selflessly.
All that to say, before you spend time with people, stop for at least 10 seconds and remember you have an opportunity to focus on someone else — so it’s time to purposefully shift your attention outward.
#3 Ask questions
Once you are with your friends, simply ask questions about their lives. When you take an interest in what other people have going on, you’ll quickly learn what it means to be a blessing to them. You might realize someone’s concerns need to be added to your prayer list. Or perhaps you’ll notice the person you’re talking to needs encouragement. Or maybe you’ll realize they’re in great need of practical help that you can supply over the next week or two.
In other words, care about people’s lives and have the eyes to see how God can use you to be a blessing.
A Little Effort Goes a Long Way!
This is obviously not rocket science. However, it is so easy to get in chill mode and only pay attention to ourselves. But we could actually be making a big difference in people’s lives with just a little thoughtfulness.
Just think: every person you spend time with could actually be better off because they were with you. That is worth a little prayer, focus, and intentional conversation.
This Summer, let’s be a blessing to the people we hangout with!