Summer is so often a season of in-betweens. You might be in between sophomore year and junior year, college and grad school, one job and another, even one part of the world and another.
These in-between seasons can feel like a game of tug-of-war, pulling us back with memories of the past and pulling us forward in anticipation of the future.
But, in contrast to the tug-of-war, the Bible provides something much more stable to hold onto: hope. Hebrews 6:17-19 says:
Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that . . . we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hold that image of an anchor in your mind for a minute and ask yourself: How do I experience God’s hope anchoring me, even now, in the in-between? Here are a few kinds of anchors to consider.
I once heard a seminary student advise a crowd of prospective students: “Take someone with you when you come here.” After some quizzical looks, she explained that, no, we needn’t pack a friend in our suitcase. But we should “pack” people into our hearts and carry them with us as we move into a new season of life. These anchors remind us of who we’ve been, what we’ve been passionate about and working toward, and how loved we are on the journey.
So make sure you have at least one person committed to keeping in touch with you and praying with you during the in-between and into your next step. Ask people about their preferred methods of keeping in touch (phone? Skype? email?), make a plan, and stick to it as much as possible.
Spiritual practices are an anchor because you can practice them anywhere, for any length of time. You could spend the summer reading through a book of the Bible, journaling for 10 minutes a day, or praying during your morning runs.
Corporate practices can seem especially tricky in the short-term, but consider this: If you were on a short-term mission trip, wouldn’t you be committed to meeting, loving, and serving the people around you—temporary as they may be in your life? Consider treating your in-between season like a short-term mission trip and invest in spiritual practices right where you are, for however long you may be there.
Prayer is perhaps the most anchoring of practices. In prayer, you are in dialogue with the God who wants to make “the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear” to you (Hebrews 6:17). In the in-between, identify particular prayer practices that anchor you. Centering prayer, for instance, centers your mind on one attribute or promise of God that you want to hold onto in this season. Listening prayer waits quietly for the voice of God to speak into your present time and place.
In the tug-of-war of the in-between season, know that you have this hope as an anchor for the soul: the unchanging One is ever present to provide people to support you, practices to sustain you, and prayer to secure you in relationship to him.
Julia Powers is an InterVarsity alumna who studied English at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. She’s currently in between working at a church in Texas and starting seminary in Canada. You can find her online atwww.juliapowersblog.com.