It’s the holidays, and everyone around me seems to be occupied with exciting plans.
Someone is in Bali lounging on some of the best beaches. Someone else is on a summer internship programme, learning new skills and meeting new people.
But I also know many who have nothing to do. After days of staring at empty calendar blocks, it is easy to begin feeling bored and unproductive.
We sink into an endless cycle of Netflix marathons and lying on our beds, with our only excitement being finding out what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Some of us have tried looking for a part-time job or fun hobbies to fill our time with, but these opportunities are either unavailable or are unable to fully satisfy our quest for productivity and meaning.
But God has said in His Word that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
There are moments where we are called to be busy, and other periods where we find that our time has been freed up.
When we enter seasons that seem to have nothing lined up for us, how can we use this time that God has blessed us with in a way that glorifies Him?
1. Get back to the Source
Spending time with God daily? If we haven’t, holidays are a good time to begin.
Our schedules can now accommodate longer sessions of simply soaking in the presence of God.
This can look like listening to worship music and being still before Him, or spending extended periods diving deep into the Word.
We can also choose to pray more for the things He places on our hearts.
Though I agree that quality matters more than quantity when it comes to spending time with God, it is undeniable that the more time we spend with Him, the closer we get to understanding His heart.
It is much like hanging out with a friend. We have more intimate access to the thoughts and feelings of a friend we meet weekly compared to a friend we only meet once a year.
Increasing the amount of time we spend conversing with God is one way we can begin to build a personal relationship with Him.
He knows us through and through (Psalm 139:3-4), but can we say the same when it comes to knowing Him?
Spending time with God is a habit to be inculcated.
Our idea of God is often limited to whatever we glean from the little time we spend getting to know Him.
If we simply choose to come into His courts more often, we would not only find Him as we seek Him (Jeremiah 29:13) but also be rejuvenated by His love.
All of us have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only He can fill.
As we spend more time with Him, the hole gets filled up and we come closer and closer to feeling secure and complete in Christ.
But what if I don’t find it enjoyable?
Spending time with God can sometimes feel like an obligation. We know that God loves us and wants to meet with us, but we simply can’t bring ourselves to feel excited about it.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Another K-Drama episode seems more satisfying than an hour poring over endless rules and regulations in the book of Leviticus.
This is where the discipline aspect of spending time with God comes in. Our daily time with Him is a spiritual discipline we need to commit to.
Although spending time with God typically leaves us hungering for more of His Word, there are times where the troubles and temptations of life can cloud our vision, causing us to feel jaded instead.
In these moments, God honours a heart that chooses Him regardless of how we feel.
Let me share an analogy to help you visualise my point.
I don’t exactly enjoy working out. Of course I value my health, but I don’t like the feeling of my lungs exploding during a routine run.
I could just decide that it is too much work and lounge around all day, but that’s not what I’ve chosen to do.
Exercising is an important habit to inculcate, since I am aware it is good for me and helps me live my life more effectively.
Without it, I would not be able to function productively.
Similarly, spending time with God is a habit to be inculcated.
When we have the understanding of how good God is and just how much we need Him, we are prompted to come to Him more and more.
Once we experience just how much His presence gives us joy (Psalm 16:11), reconnecting to Him will become a necessity even above the other must-dos in our lives.
2. Steward your gifts
Another way we can spend our free time is by investing in the gifts that God has blessed us with.
We all have talents that God has entrusted us with to be useful messengers of His love here on earth.
These can come in the form of an artistic, musical or athletic inclination — or by having spiritual gifts like discernment, interpretation and prophecy.
Not all of us are given the same amount of gifts.
Regardless, God calls us to be faithful whether we’ve been entrusted with little or much.
He desires that we will not only use it, but be intentional in growing it to bless His kingdom (Matthew 25:14-30).
The first step to stewarding our gifts is by first identifying what they are. Typically, our strengths and passions are good indicators.
Some of us might not be able to readily point out our talents. It is a good idea to ask the people around us what they consider to be our gifts — which sometimes can be as simple as a personality trait that can bless those we interact with.
After recognising the gifts we’ve been bestowed with, it is important to spend time honing our craft in order to be effective vessels for Christ.
Though it is often true that God has blessed us with a natural inclination in these areas, it is also our responsibility to sow into them.
So, you might want to consider signing up for lessons to improve your musical or artistic talents in order to expand your repertoire. Or you could attend courses that help you become more effective in your ministry.
It is also a good idea to intentionally place yourself in situations which require you to use your gifts, so that you become more comfortable in exercising them for God’s purposes.
Whatever it is, there is no other better time to develop your talents than when you are free.
Without other commitments, you can devote yourself fully into growing these gifts without any distractions!
3. Deepen existing relationships
As you find yourself unoccupied during your holidays, chances are someone else in your life feels similarly. Breaks are a perfect time to deepen your relationships with those God has placed around you.
One group of people we can build a relationship with is our pre-believing friends.
God calls us to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15).
However, we cannot do that without first establishing a connection with those around us.
We can start by choosing to spend the free time we have in their company, listening to their woes and sharing in their joys.
Strengthening our friendship with our pre-believing friends will not only help to build the relationship, but also allow them to better understand the amazing God we are representing.
Ask them out for coffee, or extend an invite for them to join you on your evening gym session.
Making an effort to connect with your pre-believing friends will open up more opportunities for you to testify of God’s goodness in your conversations.
Another group of people we can deepen our relationship with is our spiritual community. This most typically refers to our cell/life group, but can also be fellow believers we interact with in school and in the marketplace.
God calls us to not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). There is value in being a part of community as it ensures accountability, vulnerability and support.
When we are left to grow alone, we are often more susceptible to doubts and lies of the enemy. With no one to guide us in our spiritual walk, it is much easier to eventually fall away from the faith.
This is why we ought to be intentional in parcelling out our time to spend with the Christian community that God has blessed us with.
With more time on your hands, you could offer to plan the next church bonding event, or ask a fellow church mate whom you know to be struggling out for lunch.
It pleases God when His people make an effort to fellowship with one another, supporting each other’s walks and praising His name as one body (Acts 2:44-46).
Recently, my cell group had a picnic at East Coast Park. It has been long since we’ve met together face to face to catch up.
I was surprised that the short time we spent together richly refreshed my soul.
Though we had a simple programme of food and board games, simply being in the company of my spiritual family encouraged me and chased my worries away.
I could also catch up with some of my fellow cell members whom I had not met in a while, and we were able to be more involved in each other’s current lives.
God calls us to not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25).
Though it might go without saying that breaks are a great time to spend with those around us, it is sometimes tempting to be a hermit under the blankets.
However, I believe there is great merit in being surrounded by community, whether we are ministering or being ministered to.
God’s heart is always for unity and community.
Can’t I just relax?
Of course, free time is also for us to rest.
I’m not saying that we cannot do fun things like go abroad or watch that new movie.
These are things that God has blessed us with on this earth.
However, a thought I hold on to is the pressing truth that our time here on earth is limited.
Every second that passes is a second less to be a blessing and to do God’s work.
So why not consider spending your next block of free time more meaningfully?
Whether it is to reconnect to God, steward our gifts or deepen existing relationships — everything we do should point towards His purposes.
- What do you usually do on breaks? Pack or slack?
- Which of the article’s three handles resonated with you the most?
- What is one practical thing you can do this week to be more intentional in how you spend your free time?