There’s a scene in About a Boy where Hugh Grant’s character describes his life as made up of half-hour blocks—not so much time as to be intimidating, but long enough to do things. Once he adds up all of those blocks, his unemployed self says, “I often wonder, to be absolutely honest, if I’d ever have time for a job.”
I love my blocks of time. I might not be numbering my days aright, but I am for sure numbering my days, checking them off half-an-hour by half-an-hour.
Two years ago, I spent 480 half-hour blocks in Ukraine working with university students. Those blocks served as the foundation for my application to move to Ukraine after I graduate to continue working with the rising generation there.
Then, this past summer, I was blessed to spend 80 blocks of time each week in the International Justice Mission office, connecting my passion for stories with God’s passion for his people. God taught me twenty blogs’ worth of lessons there, but one was the pricelessness of both my days and my freedom to use them as I wish.
Hugh Grant’s character jokingly says that “full hours can be a little bit intimidating.” That’s how I feel about my future sometimes. A full career? Intimidating. I can’t commit to something that big.
But a summer? I’m able to think about that without getting overwhelmed.
The truth is, spring break and summer are unique gifts given to us as college students. When else are you going to have a chance to take a full three months away from your full-time commitment without needing to worry about transitioning back? Probably not until maternity/paternity leave, if that day comes—and that’s with a generous employer.
So, friends, it’s time to think intentionally about some half-hour blocks that you might number—and then to plan and follow through. Don’t let your time off just happen to you. Don’t let it be time off from the sweet journey that Jesus is taking you on. Consider carefully how the gift of a season could be used for God’s ministry.
Go—I Am Sending You!
At Urbana, thousands of InterVarsity students made commitments to serve overseas in some form of missions work. Many of those were for short-term service.
When were you planning to make that happen?
Don’t get me wrong. Not all of us can—or should—go overseas. There are places and people in our country that need to be served as well. There are students who will be on campus taking intersession courses, or who are unable to travel home for the summer, who need to be cared for. There are coworkers at your summer jobs who don’t know Jesus.
But there are also young people all over the globe who have never really heard about his love. There are huge—intimidatingly huge—problems in this world that cry for the love of God’s people.
People in both local and global places need help and love. And we have been given a season to invest however we choose. We have been given a few blocks of time, and we have been given a job to do. Let’s not be so overwhelmed by what’s stretching in front of us that it paralyzes us to inaction.
Letting God Answer
Some of you might already know where you will be spending your summer. Consider how God might use you in that place. What neighbor will move in who you haven’t met before? What need in your community will you have time to meet that you couldn’t even see before? What could you do in order for your trip to have a lasting impact?
For those of you who don’t know yet, take the time to ask God where you might go. As a graduating senior, I am out of summers. I only have life left. But my summers changed my life, and pointed me on the road I’m now walking. I am so grateful that I let God plan those chunks of time for me, even after I’d already blocked them off.
Choose now to give your breaks to God, whether he uses you across the country or across the street. Our God is an eternal and constant God, who is asking us to number our days. He is the Lord of time, and I assure you that we can trust him with ours.
Jen Herrmann is an InterVarsity student and chapter president at the University of Oklahoma. She’s double majoring in Professional Writing and Film and Media Studies. You can see some of her media work at vimeo.com/jeniffles.