Yesterday I offered ideas for five constructive ways to fill your free time. Here are five more ideas for filling downtime well.
1. Be a friend.
Hanging out with friends is a fun and easy way to spend free time, but we tend to gravitate toward those people we are most familiar with and who are easy to love. Did you know that God’s Word urges each of us to do a friendship flip—to worry more about being a good friend to others than we do about having the kinds of friends that fill us up?
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others more significant than yourselves.”
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.”
Do a mash-up of those verses, and we learn that God calls each of us to be the kind of friend who is always loving and never selfish. We demonstrate friendship by considering others’ needs ahead of our own.
So don’t just text or make plans to hang out with those friends who fill you up, reach out to someone who needs a good friend right now. Is there a girl in your school who no one hangs out with? Give her a call. Is there someone you know who needs someone to talk to? Make plans to go out to lunch.
2. Cut the junk.
When I was in elementary school, I learned this little jingle in my Sunday school class.
Input, output what goes in is what comes out.
Input, output that is what it’s all about.
Input, output your mind is a computer whose …
Input, output daily you must choose.
The idea that my mind works like the data processing mechanism on my computer has always stuck with me. What I put in my mind is inevitably what I will spit out.
Proverbs 4:23 puts it this way: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
God calls us to guard what we put into our hearts, because inevitably it all flows out.
With that in mind, take stock of what you’ve been putting into your mind. Go through your music collection, your books and magazines, your movies, the TV shows you watch most often, your Facebook friends, and your favorite websites.
This will take some time. It may help to recruit a friend or parent to help you.
Ask yourself this question: Is putting this into my mind/heart going to churn out something that is God honoring? If the answer is “no,” get rid of it. If the answer is “maybe,” ask a third party. (You’re welcome to bounce questions off me and the rest of the LYWB.com team using the comment forum).
One of my personal resolutions for 2014 is to put more Bible verses up in my home.
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses is talking about the commandments of God when he says, “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (v. 9).
His point was to put God’s Word in the places our eyes look most often. For you, this might include your bathroom mirror, car steering wheel, laptop, or favorite chair.
Pick eight to ten Bible verses that you want to focus on in the year ahead, and find ways to display them in your world. You can find some ideas for how to creatively display Bible verses here and here.
4. Walk it out.
Don’t you love the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho? All Joshua and the people of God had to do to win a great victory was walk and wait on the Lord.
I love to follow in Joshua’s footsteps by prayer walking. There’s nothing mystical or magical about praying while I walk, but it helps me to focus on exactly what or whom I want to pray for.
You can organize a prayer walk with your family or a few friends.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Truck stops are one of the number one destinations for sex trafficking. Choose a truck stop in your area, and walk the parking lot praying for those who are caught up in that industry to be freed and for the enemy’s plans to bring more into captivity to be thwarted in your area. For safety’s sake, make sure you bring an adult with you.
- Walk the area that surrounds your church. Pray for the people in the area to come to your church if they do not have a church home and for your church to be a source of salt and light in your community.
- Walk around your school. The high school where I live has a sign across the street that says “prayer zone.” I love that! It means someone has designated that school as a target for prayer. Why not make the area around your school a “prayer zone.” (Note: You can do this even if you’re homeschooled.)
5. Give thanks.
I know that I encouraged you to write thank-you notes in yesterday’s post, but I’d like to encourage you to keep the gratitude coming by making a list of all that God did for you in 2013. My guess is that as you look back over the year there will be much to tell Him “thank you” for.
Bonus: Read the archives.
Did you know the writers of this blog have been churning out truth-filled posts for nearly six years? There are over 1,000 posts in our archives! Let me encourage you to go back and check out some of the posts you may have missed. There’s gold in them thar hills!
Here’s a link to our very first post, written way back in 2008. If you find a post that speaks to you, leave a comment with the link so others can read it, too!