Pursuing Christ off-campus: Living a Christian life throughout summer

The spring semester always comes with a mix of feelings for me. The end of the school year comes in a rush of “Too much, too soon!”, fleeting goodbyes, the relief of summer and an almost immediate wish for school to begin all over again. The summer break brings respite and a much different tempo than the upbeat, almost pensive rhythm that pervades the school year. But not all students share that viewpoint with me.

Two and a half years ago, in the month of August, I was picking up my new roommate from her host home in anticipation of the start of the semester. Sometime in between picking her up and moving our overpacked boxes into our unfamiliar dorm room, the conversation shifted to what life was like during the summer. My roommate excitedly said that she couldn’t wait for weekly Convocation and Campus Community gatherings to begin, the Christianity that pervaded campus culture and the ease with which she could slip back into healthy rhythms. Her summers had been marked by an inability to feel close to God; she found emotional well-being in the resources that our school provides.

This one example represents a reality for many of us college students as we prepare to head home. Our homes don’t always look like a loving family, a welcoming church or healthy rituals. Sometimes they look like entirely different lives altogether. For my roommate, an international student who hopped back and forth between host homes and campus, her faith life was seemingly defined by the rituals that she engaged with at Liberty University.

These resources that we have are beautiful interpretations of what it means to pursue Christ, to look like Christ and to act like Christ. What they don’t always translate to, however, is a grounding foundation that sustains us through the summer. Convocation and Campus Community should serve as fuel, motivation and sharpeners. They don’t exist simply to fill emotional needs. They are put in place to push us towards something that truly fills: a healthy relationship with Christ. James 4:8 says that if we pursue God and draw near to him, he will draw near to us. He is never far away; we only need reach out.

So, how does one counteract the — bear with me for alliteration’s sake — spiritual summer slump?

In the wise, wise words of Ice Cube: “Check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self.”

Gospel Coalition lists several helpful practices for college students to nurture their relationships with God over the summer. These include setting healthy Bible reading goals, anticipating the threat of temptation, investing in a church body and rehearsing “your need for the gospel daily.” Prior planning to spend time pursuing Christ is necessary; the Christian faith is a muscle to be worked consistently.

The practice and obedient nature of spreading the gospel shouldn’t remain within the confines of EVAN 101, nor should worship take place only on Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. Do I always read my bible when I intend to? Absolutely not. It is nevertheless imperative to continue to try.

I pray that my former roommate’s summers look more like a gentle walk with Christ and less like a lonely struggle. I pray that, as we students gear up to go back home, we’d carry grace and truth hand in hand and we’d be ready to plan and pursue despite inherent weakness and probable failures because we are unfailingly imperfect. Thankfully, astoundingly, I am loved, saved and redeemed by a God who is perfect, and I joyfully look forward to getting to know him better this summer.

Glen is an opinion writer. Follow her on X

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