Quality Down Time

Ryan Burns —  May 12, 2008

This guest post was written by Terry Delaney. You can read more from Terry at Diary of a Seminary Student and Said at Southern.

The Semester is Over! Now what?

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I spend each semester thinking about how I need to get ahead in my classes so I do not have work piled on at the end of the semester. And every semester I find myself piled with work at the end. My wife once said that semesters just end whether you are ready or not. Well, now that the semester is over, what are you going to do with yourself?

What can you do with your down time; that is, if you have any down time. I know more than a few people who are taking summer classes. I am not one of them. I need the time to let my brain relax and finally digest all that I learned over the school year. If you are one of those taking summer courses, my hat is off to you.

For those who are not taking summer courses, allow me to offer up some ideas to use your time wisely:

Honor Your Family’s Sacrifice

First, if you are married, take your spouse out for a date night—/he has earned it! Your spouse has probably done much more than you realize in allowing you to focus on your schoolwork. If you have children, take them out for a day at the park or the zoo. Your kids miss you even if you spend a lot of time with them throughout the semester. Spending quality time with your family ought to be priority—how much more when you actually have the time to spend?

Meditate on God’s Word

Second, read your Bible. If there is anything more important than spending quality time with your family, it is spending quality time with your God. He saved your soul and He commissioned you to preach the Word. For many seminary students, Bible reading goes out the window once the semester workload gets heavy. It takes about an hour a day to read through the whole Bible in two-three months. You could easily read the Bible during the summer.

Fellowship With Your Redeemer

Third, take a day where you actually get away by yourself and get with God. Leave your cell phone and MP3 player at home or in the car and go sit in the woods for an afternoon for a time of silence and solitude with God. Allow the eternal spring of life to recharge your spirit. We can all testify to how rough each semester is, why not refresh your soul with God?

Enjoy Your Mind
Fourth, read that book you have wanted to read since last summer. Not everything needs to be deep theology or related to your field of study (for you music majors). Personally, I plan to read a couple biographies this summer in a kind of devotional format. Drink in the lives of those who have gone before you. They will teach you so much more than you can imagine.

Nap to the Glory of God

Finally, take some time off to do absolutely nothing. Obviously you are going to be doing something, but there is nothing stopping you from taking a nap to the glory of God! Spend a day your pajamas if you are able or just read all day. I have found it liberating to get rid of my watch for a day (I am a slave to that thing!) and not be governed by time.

Now, I realize most of us will be working at jobs or ministries or going on missions trips, but that does not mean you can’t do one or all of these things I have listed. You create your own list. The bottom line is do not waste your “time off” by doing nothing the whole time. Be sure to fill it with what I like to call “quality down time.” Keep everything in perspective and make sure your priorities are right and enjoy your summer break from seminary—if you have one. God bless.

Ryan Burns

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Ryan Burns is on staff at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA. He also runs a church jobs website to help connect churches and ministers.

2 responses to Quality Down Time

  1. Thanks Terry… As for me, I plan on taking two classes, starting a new job, launching goingtoseminary.com 2.0, and reading In My Place Condemned He Stood, How Soccer Explains the World and The Gospel of Food.

  2. Just for the record, my wife thought it was funny that I spoke about a date night. We have never really done that in our relationship–even before we had kids. For us, the best night out is a night in.