Checking In: College Apps, Writing Stuff, and Just General Updateyness

abandoned, forest, industry

Hi everyone!

I had five extra minutes so I thought I would just pop in and share a little bit about what’s going in my life and what’s next for this blog.

First of all –

I miss blogging. I miss my regular schedule, my constant flow of ideas, and my interactions with all of you. Blogging has become something that I can’t really imagine my life without, and this unplanned (and supposedly still unofficial even though I haven’t posted in a month) hiatus has just confirmed that. So I promise I will be back, because I still think about this little blog quite often!

So why am I not coming back yet?

Well, first of all, college applications are happening. November 1 is rapidly approaching and I’m trying to get all of that madness done.

Also, Nutcracker is happening. I go to rehearsals three times a week and on those days I basically don’t have time for anything else. I have eight parts. It’s a lot, but I love it.

Also, my novella for the Rooglewood Press contest is trying to happen happening. I’m struggling to make it a priority, but I’ve come far enough and I think it has enough potential that I desperately want to meet that December 31 deadline.

And of course I also have school and church and laundry and studying and all of that. But those things are always around. The three things I’ve mentioned above will all go away after December. I’ll still be dancing, but not quite as intensively, and the other two will be over and done. (And I will be one relieved human.) So my plan right now, unless the mood to post strikes me sooner, is to return to blogging in January. 

I wish I didn’t have to wait until then, but I want to be able to truly put effort into this blog. I just wanted to update you all on what’s going on, after my super-vague hiatus post in September and my one random book review (which was a free copy I agreed to review, so I figured I might as well post it here).

I hope you are all doing well! I miss you lots!

love, grace

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Book Review: Perception by Emily Ann Benedict

Perception (Vintage Jane Austen #4)

Rating: 3.5 stars

Age Suggestion: 10+

Plot Synopsis

Upstate New York, 1930. Thirteen years ago, Abbey Evans was persuaded to break off her engagement to a penniless soldier headed to the front lines of the Great War. A daughter of one of America’s wealthiest families could never be allowed to marry so far beneath herself. But Black Tuesday changed everything. With her family’s prominence now little more than a facade, Abbey faces the loss of her childhood home. As if that weren’t enough, the only man she ever loved has returned after making his fortune – and he wants nothing to do with the young woman he courted before the war. With the past forever out of reach, the time has come for Abbey decide her own fate, before it is too late… (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I love the idea of retelling Jane Austen stories in more modern time periods, and I recently reread Persuasion itself and remembered how much I loved it, so I was really excited to read this.

I think the fact I had read Persuasion so recently was both a good thing and a bad thing. Part of me enjoyed having the story so fresh in my mind, but the other part of me really wished the retelling had been less straightforward and a little more creative. Because it is an exact retelling, with exactly parallel characters and every exact plot point pulled into the 1930s setting. I was expecting or would have preferred to have an inspired, but not so exactly retold, story, because in this case I always knew what was going to happen next and so throughout the middle I got a little bit bored. Plus, I do think that Jane Austen’s very episodic structure (a lot of barely connected incidents happening throughout the middle of the story and eventually building to a conclusion) doesn’t work quite as well for a modern novel. But that’s just a personal preference. And it was probably my fault for having read the original novel so recently. 

The characters were interpreted quite well, and the author didn’t use the direct retelling as an excuse to get lazy (for the most part – Veronica’s place in the story felt a little underdeveloped). I loved Sam’s added significance – she seemed like a much stronger character in this retelling than in the original novel, from what I remember, although I’ve always liked her. I’ve always liked Charlie’s counterpart in the original book, too, for some reason, and Perception highlighted those likeable characteristics. I also especially thought Robert and Bonnie were translated into the 1930s setting very well and liked reading about them.

I would have liked to see more exploration of some of the themes Austen hints at in the original story. But not all books have to be deep, and this one succeeded at being a light, comfortable story that brought me stress relief and a little bit of joy. Even if it’s not the deepest book in the world, the writing is good (unlike so many “light” novels) and I was able to finish it in a few days.

Content-wise, there is romance, of course, but it’s totally clean. One of the subplots involves a bit of violence, which isn’t graphic, glorified, or overly focused on at all. I would recommend it for ages 10 and up (although I would recommend reading Persuasion itself first, so that might move the age range up a few years).

Overall, while it wasn’t quite the creative retelling I was hoping for, I enjoyed this book a lot. If you’ve read Persuasion, but not too recently (wait a few years and forget some of the plot points), and are looking for something light and quick and clean, then pick this up!

(I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

What do you think? Have you read this? If so, did you like it? Share in the comments below! 

love, grace

Mini-Hiatus (or why I’ve disappeared lately)

So I didn’t post last week. That was a conscious decision on my part, because I was overly stressed and needed to take a few things off my plate. I was totally planning to get back to regular posting today, but I find myself in the same situation again.

Basically, my life feels slightly out-of-control right now and I just need to let you know that I might not be posting regularly on here.

This isn’t an official hiatus, because I might end up posting more regularly than I think. Or I might not. I just never really know what each week is going to look like, and I need to get rid of the pressure to post weekly for a little while. So I’ll still be around when I can be. But if you don’t see me very often, it’s because I’m in the middle of an incredibly busy season.

Have a great day and a great week, and I’ll see you when things calm down!

love, grace

4 Reasons to Read the Bible

bible reading series1

We’ve all been told many times that to be good Christians, we should read our Bibles. But have you ever actually thought about why?

Well, duh, you say, rolling your eyes, it’s the Bible, Grace. Obviously we have to read it if we’re Christians.

But so often, we read it without really knowing what the point is, why it’s important, and what we’re trying to get out of it. We wander aimlessly through the pages, looking for that “spiritual growth” we’re supposed to find if we read for fifteen minutes every day. But without a clear purpose, growth is hard to come by. We need to know what the Bible is, what it is for, and how we can truly get the most out of it.

We’ll talk about the “how” part later. But for now, let’s talk about the “what for” part. Why should we read our Bibles? What is, truly, the purpose of it?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 sums it up best:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

From that verse, here are four reasons to read your Bible.

1. Scripture is God’s literal Word to us.

First of all, the most obvious reason. The God of the universe gave us a book of truth. Why wouldn’t you want to read that?

The Bible is not just a human book summarizing the history of the Christian faith and the dos and don’ts of the Christian life. Everything the Bible holds is God’s truth, breathed out for us to use. Hebrews 4:12 puts it this way:

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Every time we read the Bible, God is working through the power of His Holy Spirit, opening our eyes and our hearts, teaching and training and correcting and inspiring. Fundamentally, the Bible is an amazing gift, and to neglect it is to neglect the one thing that will help your Christian walk the most.

2. Scripture shows us our sin and our need for a Savior.

So what, specifically, does the Bible show us and teach us? First: it reveals our sin in all of its ugliness. As we read God’s law, and see what He requires for a righteous life, we see all the ways in which we fail to measure up.

This does away with conceit and shows us our need for Christ. There is no way, after reading the Bible, that we can delude ourselves into thinking we are “good people”. And so we come away humbled and ready to accept the salvation that God requires, leaning on Him, knowing that on our own we could never live a truly upright life.

3. Scripture shows us who God is and what He has done.

As we read the Bible, we are humbled. We see ourselves for who we are. But we also see God for who He is.

The entire Bible is the saga of a people who rebelled and a God who loved them anyway, so much that He sent His Son to die. The more we see our sin, the more we realize the wonder of salvation, and the wonder of God’s love. Through the Bible, we come to love God more and more, as we learn more and more about His love for us.

We also learn about His character. God is so complex, and the best way to know Him better is by reading the Bible. Every time you read about God, you will learn something new about who He is.

4. Scripture shows us how to live a godly life.

And finally, once we have seen our sin and God’s love, and once we accept salvation, the Bible gives us a blueprint for our lives. Because while we will never be able to perfectly measure up to the righteousness God requires, through His work of sanctification we begin to change, growing more and more like Christ.

The Christian life is a hard walk, and the Bible is the guidebook. It is there for us to go back to again and again, seeking the way we should go in every situation. We should be familiar with it from cover to cover, learning to base our entire life upon the truth it contains.

If you’ve never read your Bible, or if this overwhelms you, don’t worry! This is the beginning of a new series I’m going to do on Bible reading. Next week we’ll start getting into the practical details, so stay tuned for that, and let me know if you have any questions I can address during the series!

What do you think? Do you read your Bible regularly? How have you seen these four benefits play out in your own life? 

love, grace

Read more:

Lessons from the Law: How to Get Into the Old Testament for Yourself

24 Resolution Ideas for Christian Teens

How I Enjoyed Reading Deuteronomy

August 2017 Month in Review

august 2017 review2

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” (Henry James)

Bloggings of the Month

liebster award.pngsome more random things about me (these tags get harder every time I do them…)

Image result for the gray havens highlighting one of my new very favorite bands

MY VERY FIRST GUEST POST!!!! The lovely Miriam from Crafted by Christ wrote a beautiful post on thriving right where we are. I loved hosting her! Be sure to read the post and check out her blog as well!

29949578 a review of one of my favorite summer reads

I celebrated my second blogiversary and did my very first giveaway!

My tips for reading more during the school year, plus recommendations

habits3 and finally…habits to cultivate this school year

Favorites of the Month

Thrive SeriesThe first post in Miriam’s new series came out! I was so excited for this, and the first post did not disappoint.

 I wish everyone in the world would read this post from Nadine Brandes and take it to heart.

Image result for warfare julie hallWarfare by Julie Hall (my review)

I WANT TO SCREAM FROM THE ROOFTOPS HOW MUCH I LOVE AND AGREE WITH THIS POST!!!

Katie Grace put everything I’m feeling about senior year into words.

This video is such an important reminder as us teenagers try to figure out what to do with our lives:

Image result for my lady janeMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (my review)

It Takes Trust in God to Rebel Against the Culture (1)I found this article about trusting God so helpful and practical!

I relate to this video so much and I’m sure many of you can too…

And finally, purely for fun:

Coming in September

I’ve put together my blogging schedule all the way through December and I’m so excited for it! In September, you can look forward to the beginning of a brand-new series that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, for which I will write periodic posts over the next few months. (Here’s a hint: reading the most important book!) I’m also going to review a movie this month, so if you have any movies you’d like to see a review for, let me know in the comments!

How was your August? Did you have any amazing summer adventures? What are you excited for this school year? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

10 Verses to Encourage You This School Year

Remember…Take It One Step at a Time

5 Ways to Stay Grounded in Truth This School Year

Three Habits to Cultivate Now (+giveaway winner!)

habits3

I’m so excited to announce that the winner of my very first giveaway is Jazzy Belle! Congrats! Please use the Contact form to send me your address sometime in the next few days, and I’ll mail you your goodies! 

For me, a new school year has always been my favorite time to set goals for myself, even more so than January. It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, a chance to come one step closer to the person who you were made to be.

But if you try to change everything about yourself overnight, it won’t last (trust me). The better method is to slowly, patiently cultivate some new habits, making some small but lasting changes that will have an impact on your whole life. Focus on a few areas where you know you could improve, a few things that will have a positive effect on your physical, mental, or spiritual health as you move forward in life.

If you’re stumped, here are three habits that would be especially good to cultivate while you’re a teenager.

1. Memorizing Scripture.

This is one of those things that will only get harder as you get older (or so I hear…). So take advantage of your young brain and memorize chunks of the Bible now to comfort, encourage, and inspire you when things get tough down the road.

If you have no idea how to begin, here are a few great resources to help:

2. Attending church every week.

For some of you, this is a no-brainer. On Sundays, your families get up and go to church; it’s just what you do. Even though this might be something you’ve done for as long as you can remember, make sure to actually think about why you do it, to own the practice for yourself, so that when you’re on your own it will still be a weekly habit.

And if your family doesn’t go to church every week, it should still be a priority for you to find a church family and a way to get there on Sundays! There is no greater gift that God has given us than the church, and regular fellowship with other believers is one of the most essential aspects of the Christian life. Rooting yourself in a Christian community, no matter where in the world you end up over the course of your life, will be one of the best things you can do for your spiritual health.

3. Setting aside regular time to read.

Reading for school doesn’t count in this category – I’m encouraging you to read books that you choose! Whether that’s fantasy novels, biographies, or Christian nonfiction, regularly reading outside of your assigned books is a much more productive use of your time than always watching TV or scrolling through social media. Some of that is fine, of course, but reading helps stimulate your brain and your creativity. Getting in the habit of always having a book on hand now, as a teenager, means you’ll probably read a lot of really great books in the years to come!

To get started, check out these previous posts:

And if you’re looking for more recommendations, I’ve done lots of book reviews, so browse through some of those for ideas!

 

I’m not going to claim that these three habits will totally change your life. But each of them will have a small, positive impact that will ultimately last longer and have a greater effect on your well-being than all of those superficial, overnight changes that disappear in a month.

Don’t feel like you have to “remake yourself” this school year – start small, and gradually you will build a life to be proud of.

What do you think? Are you already cultivating any of these habits? What habits do you want to add to your life this school year? Share in the comments! 

A final note before I go: School starts for me on Monday, so I’ll be switching back to my weekly Saturday posts. I love posting more often when I can, but weekly posting is always the most realistic schedule for me during the school year! 

love, grace

Read more:

24 Resolution Ideas for Christian Teens

Why You Need to Overcome Procrastination

4 Time Management Tips

4 Ways to Read More During the School Year (+book recommendations!)

I know many of you who follow my blog are avid readers, with stacks and piles of books waiting to be read. I am, too. I love books and reading is one of my favorite leisure activities.

But once school starts, our time slowly slips away from us and we find ourselves reading less and less. What can we do to ensure that even during the school year, when life gets busy, we are still enjoying great books on a regular basis?

I have four tips for you:

1. Take a book with you to school every day.

This may not apply to those of you who are homeschooled, but it’s the single tip that has made the most difference for me. I carry the book that I’m currently reading in my backpack every single day – it’s a daily essential just as much as my planner is.

Because there’s so much downtime in public school classes, and because I’m a pretty fast test-taker, I get a lot of reading done in little bits and pieces throughout the day. Between classes, after a quiz or test, on the bus, during study hall if you don’t have anything else to do…all of that is valuable time perfect for pulling out a book.

2. Set aside particular times in your weekly routine to read.

During the school year, spontaneously picking up a book in your “free time” usually isn’t going to happen (mostly because that free time doesn’t really exist). But if you structure longer chunks of reading time into your week, you’ll make steady progress. For me, this is usually weekends, especially Sundays. But whether it’s every evening before bed or for three hours on Saturday afternoon, plan some regular time into your schedule when you can consistently get some reading in.

3. Listen to audiobooks.

To be honest, I really prefer print books. There’s something about holding a book in your hand that just can’t be replaced. But if you’re an auditory learner, or you’re literally always on the go and can’t find time to read anywhere in your schedule, audiobooks might be a good option. You can listen to them while you’re driving, working out, doing chores, walking your dog, and more; it’s a great way to get through the books you want to read while still getting other things done as well.

Using audiobooks for school reading while multitasking can be a great way to save time too. (Even consider putting them on double-speed to save even more time!) You can then use the time that you would have spent reading school books to do other things (like reading for fun, maybe…?).

4. Choose books that you can’t put down.

Finally, make sure you are reading books that pull you in, books that you will voluntarily choose over social media and all those other time-wasting activities. If forcing yourself to read Charles Dickens is going to mean you never actually read at all, then don’t try to read Charles Dickens during the school year! Maybe do that over the summer instead.

If you like classics, by all means read classics. But if you just need to read light, fun books to take a break from schoolwork, that’s totally fine too.

Here are a few of my favorite lighter reads to get you started (if you want more details about any of these feel free to leave a comment!).

Image result for paper crowns mirriam nealPaper Crowns by Mirriam Neal (fantasy, fairy tale; be sure to enter the giveaway for a copy of this if you haven’t!)

Image result for the lunar chroniclesImage result for heartlessThe Lunar Chronicles and Heartless by Marissa Meyer (sci-fi/dystopian, fantasy, fairy tale retellings; some intense scenes/violence and mostly clean romance)

Image result for the penderwicksThe Penderwicks and sequels by Jeanne Birdsall (contemporary, family)

Image result for vinegar girl Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (contemporary, clean romance; maybe some language, I don’t remember)

Image result for interrupted rachel coker Interrupted by Rachel Coker (historical, clean romance, Christian)

Image result for miss peregrine's home for peculiar children series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and sequels by Ransom Riggs (fantasy/weird sort of historical; some language and intensity)

Image result for dragon king trilogy stephen lawhead The Dragon King trilogy by Stephen Lawhead (epic fantasy, adventure; some scary scenes/violence)

Image result for mitford series The Mitford series by Jan Karon (contemporary, family, Christian)

 

What do you think? How do you make time to read during the year? Have you read any of the books I recommended, and what others would you recommend? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

 

 

 

Belated Blogiversary Celebration + Giveaway!

It was my blogiversary earlier this month, and I completely forgot decided to wait until now to celebrate!

It’s been two years since I started this blog, and I can’t believe how much it has grown. I don’t know what I expected to happen…I think that even though I wanted to have a lot of followers, I never thought I would actually have a lot of followers. And yet True and Pure continues to grow, and God is using my writing beyond what I ever imagined.

So thank you, my wonderful readers, for supporting me and being interested in what I have to say! Without you, this blog would have no point. It means so much that you continue to read and like and comment on my posts. Thank you for always being such thoughtful, encouraging readers, who I truly enjoy interacting with!

All-Time Most Popular Posts

I have posted a total of 166 posts since I started this blog. Here are the top ten most popular:

modesty series 2Should Christian Girls Wear Makeup? 

selection series for blogBook Review: The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

3 Reasons I Hate Black Friday

why I'm not dating in high school 1.jpgWhy I’m Not Dating in High School, part 1: God’s Purpose for Romance

modesty series 2How to Dress Modestly (Tips and Tricks) 

God outside of timeC.S. Lewis: God Outside of Time

sermon notes2.jpgHow to Take Sermon Notes 

things to do with siblings.jpg31 Things to Do With Your Siblings

Fun Friday: Blue Sky Tag 

untitledInfinity Dreams Award 

What’s Next?

In the year to come, I want to continue to write posts that will encourage all of you to live for God in your teen years. I want to write more reviews, invite more guest posters, and try lots of new things (seriously, I have so many ideas…poetry/flash fiction, interviews, Q&As…).

I would welcome any requests or suggestions you have! Feel free to leave me a comment, or get in touch with the form under “Contact Me”.

Giveaway

And now, a True and Pure first…my very first giveaway!

In honor of my blogiversary, I will be giving away the following to one winner: 

  • A paperback copy of Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal (read my review)
  • A handwritten note of encouragement from me

To enter:

  • Be a follower of my blog
  • Comment below and share a Bible verse that’s been encouraging you this summer!

That’s it! The giveaway will close on August 25, 2017. I’ll choose one winner to announce in my post on August 26!

I’m so excited for the year to come, and I can’t wait to see what God does with my words this year! Thank you again, so much, for coming along on this journey with me!

love, grace

Book Review: Paper Crowns

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Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal

My Rating: Four Stars

Age Suggestion: 10+

The Book

Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

My Thoughts

This was a cute, innocent romp into the world of fantasy, and I loved it! It was such fun to read, and left me feeling happy and satisfied. So many books these days tend to drain my emotions or end unsatisfactorily, and this was a nice break from that.

The plot itself is relatively simple, and I mean that as a compliment. It was refreshing to enjoy a story that wasn’t convoluted or incredibly complex (as much as I love that kind of book too), where the plot was a straightforward good vs. evil with a bit of magic thrown in. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with simplicity, nothing wrong with books that don’t attempt to tackle the problems of the world, and rather just give us a good story.

That’s not to say that there weren’t unique elements. I don’t know that I’ve ever before read a fantasy novel where the core group of questers (is that a word…I don’t know…) included a small petulant child and a really cute dog. So that made for some really interesting dynamics in the group as things went along.

The best part of this book was definitely, without a doubt, the dialogue! It’s funny and touching and kept me interested the whole time. And Mirriam is not afraid to layer the sass and bantering on thick! Often I read books that have a little bit of banter and then it’s not enough and I’m left wanting more, maybe because the author was afraid of overdoing it. Paper Crowns has just enough. It’s not forced and it all flows well with the story and the characters. It makes it more realistic too – because even on a dangerous quest, a regular group of people isn’t going to be solemn and single-minded the whole time. There will be little annoyances and quibbles and teasing and laughter. And she captured that so well.

Hal is the best. *tapes my mouth shut* *talks about Hal for twenty minutes, but luckily you can’t understand any of it because there’s tape on my mouth and SPOILERS*

Ginger herself was such a refreshing main character! She was sarcastic and independent without being the kind of stereotypical “tough girl” that gets on my nerves. There was a feminine side to her, a vulnerable side, the side that likes to buy pretty craft paper and fold it into birds and flowers. It was a beautiful balance that I really appreciated.

And the cast of supporting characters was unique and well-rounded, each one adding something to the story. The only one that I didn’t really feel was unique enough was Azrael, even though I loved him, because he and Hal were a little too similar for me. But overall, every character was great, entertaining, with a good role in the story.

*Content Warnings*

No language. Romance has some kissing but is all completely sweet and clean. There is a villain, with some violence including a few deaths and a climactic final battle; a few of the unsavory characters are a bit on the creepy side as well. But nothing is overly graphic at all, and it still retains a very innocent feel. This is a book I will definitely be giving to my younger sisters to read.

Basically, this is the kind of clean, sweet, innocently entertaining book that is so hard to find nowadays; it has high stakes that keep it interesting, but all with a light fairy-taleish feel. Mirriam’s writing is fantastic and I have a feeling this is a book I will often reread! I highly recommend it to anyone who looks fantasy, fairy tales, or just clean, good books. It’s great if you have younger siblings who need book recommendations too!

What do you think? Have you read Paper Crowns? If so, did you like it? If not, will you read it now? Tell me in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

Heartless: Wonderland As You’ve Never Seen It Before

La La Land: Old-School Movie Magic

7 Childhood Books I Still Love

Stop Waiting for Friday

Hi everyone! Today I’m so excited to bring you a guest post from the wonderful Miriam at Crafted by Christ.  Be sure to subscribe to her blog! She has wonderful insights on Christianity, life, and being a teenager, and I’m honored to exchange posts with her. 

It was the most boring month of my life.

In May of 2016, at the end of my sophomore year of high school, I had nothing to do but anticipate the future. The end of that month began the whirlwind of working and taking college classes that I am still caught up in today. But this was the beginning of the month, and all I could do was imagine what my life would be like after I started my first job while simultaneously taking classes for dual credit at the local university. So, day after day I went through the motions of my uneventful school days, impatiently waiting for my life to begin.

But one day, it dawned on me—here I was, sitting around waiting for life to “start,” when God purposely gave me this time to prepare me for what was next. I asked Him what He wanted me to do with these few short weeks of waiting. He led me to this poem, which I promptly copied into my journal, adding my own personal applications:

“Stop waiting for Friday,

for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life.

Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you’re in now.”

[God’s will is for you to thrive in waiting. He has given you this time of waiting for a purpose. Take advantage of it]

~Anonymous

What did God want me to do with this time? He wanted me to learn how to thrive.

No matter how much we deny it, the school year is coming upon us very quickly. In the summer, we tend to have a little bit more time to spare, even for those of us with jobs. Making time for Christ is hard during the school year when our schedules are full to the max. So why not use the time we have now to build healthy habits that help us thrive during the coming weeks?

But what are the characteristics of a thriving Christian? Here are just a few that I have learned since those weeks of waiting back in 2016.

⦁ Someone who prioritizes God’s Word.

The only way for any healthy tree to grow and thrive is to have a solid root system. The same goes for Christians. Nothing is more important for a believer than spending daily, quiet time with God. Reading the Bible and praying are the food and water that every Christian must have to stay strong and healthy. Without these things, you and I will never grow. Use these last few weeks of summer to develop a time and place every day to read the Bible and pray. You will never, ever regret it.

⦁ Someone who puts others first.

We are each so overwhelmingly selfish. This is something that I have been struggling against a lot this summer. To combat this sin, I challenge myself to purposely do one completely selfless thing every day. By doing this, I hope to make selflessness a habit. I am failing miserably at this, so I intend to use my last few weeks of summer to develop an attitude of selflessness.

⦁ Someone who lives in the now.

Some days when I am at work, I am doing all that I can to survive my shift so that I can go home, sleep, and do it all over again the next day. But should our lives really be like this? Just going through the motions is not thriving. To be a thriving Christian, I must intentionally live in the here and now. Sometimes that will mean forcing myself to smile. At work, I do this by praying for my customers and co-workers and humming worship music while I perform monotonous tasks. Each moment is a gift from God, so I want to use it for His glory.

The days of summer are dwindling quickly. Are we just going to let them aimlessly slip through our fingers, or are we going to seize these days, using them to develop habits that we can carry with us throughout the school year and the rest of our lives?

I don’t know about you, but I want to be the type of Christian that thrives. I am going to use these last few weeks of summer to their fullest to glorify my Creator. Will you join me?

Click here to read my post over on Miriam’s blog, about making God a priority during the school year. 

Share in the comments below: What are you doing to live this last little phase of summer to the fullest? How are you learning how to thrive in your own life?