The conclusion of a year of college or graduate school was always a good feeling. It was good to be home. There were family reunions and friends to catch up with. It was nice to take a break from the rigor of classrooms and libraries. Then, reality hit. A summer job, or two, was needed. When I was in school, jobs were few and summer employment was in high demand. The state schools often started summer break earlier than the private schools. So, some of the better jobs were gobbled up by the time I returned home. Regardless of your need for a job this summer, join me in a season of summer employment. What will you work on this summer?

Prayer. I need to work on my prayer life this summer. I pray everyday. Yet, I need to pray more focused prayers. I have a three-ring binder on my desk that I am using to pray more and better prayers. It has post-it notes on pages for categories like my children, the ministry God has called me to, my friendships, those who work for me, family members, etc.…. I can exchange the post-it notes when someone’s needs change. This little tool helps me pray more focused prayers. I plan to re-hire my prayer notebook this summer.

Others. The value of relationships has been taught over and over in my classroom of life this year. You have cared for my family more than I could ever imagine. It’s time I take more casual time for people. I’m going to make this a focus this summer. I only have a couple of months with my children at home on summer break. So, the vacation time and days away need to be taken advantage of. There are some folks I need to sip morning coffee with. Sharing the golf course with a few would be nice. They have to be people who enjoy every inch of every hole, however. In other words, I hit the ball all over the course. My relationship with God and others fulfills the two imperatives of the Great Commandment. I plan to employ much time to spend with others this summer.

Joy. While spending time with Jesus and others, I would like to work on laughing more. There is way too much serious stuff in life these days. Meetings, conversations, and plans do not often lead a group or an individual to moments of laughter. Solomon would tell us there are times to cry and times to laugh. I don’t know about you, but some days I get tired of crying. Yet, there is plenty to laugh about in our routines. I’ve never taken myself or much of life too seriously. It’s often not worth getting all hyped up about stuff that does not matter in eternity. Just last night, I did something by accident that caused my household to all get a good belly laugh in before bedtime. It felt good. We need to do that more often, but without the accident!

What do you plan to work on this summer? Add it to your list of yard work or that well-deserved time away. Try to keep the list short and zero in on things that will last forever.

Jim Dunn is the executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.