Rebooting for the New Term

My phone sometimes needs to reboot — and so do I.

I have an app on my iPhone that lets me listen to the live stream of any public radio station in the country. Some nights, when I turn out the light to sleep, I set the timer for 20 minutes of BBC World Service, which will put you out pretty quickly. Sometimes, when I hit the play button, the wheel icon spins and the app title flashes, but no sound emerges, no matter how many times I (stupidly) continue to tap. Time to power off and then back on. After the reboot, I’m good to go.

Are you good to go for this new academic term? Are you set up to function well, and ready to flourish?

Take Time to Reboot

As an InterVarsity staff worker, I am taking several days this week to prepare for the new academic/work year. I will do some honest inventory (How did last year go? What did I learn?). I will do some prayerful listening (Lord, what are you calling me to do? Where are you inviting me to grow?).  I will also do some thoughtful planning (What are my priorities and goals for the fall? How will I use my time?).

Recently my pastor commended the Lord’s Prayer as a powerful discipline to keep focused on what is most important. I felt moved to renew this daily pattern of rehearsing God’s love, acknowledging God’s holiness, committing to God’s vision for the world, while humbly looking to him for daily provision, forgiveness and protection. It felt like the start of my reboot!

August is a transition month of finishing up summer work or studies, spending time with friends and family, packing, settling back in at school, and gearing up for New Student Outreach, but I urge you to set aside some time for your own reboot. Ask yourself (and God): What would it look like to flourish this term?

5 Aspects to Reboot

Let me propose five aspects of your life worth thinking about. Perhaps you could choose one practice or habit in each area to build into your patterns this fall.

  • Your walk with God. Will you find some time each day to consciously enter God’s presence by absorbing Scripture and voicing prayer? Will you keep some form of Sabbath? Will you open your spiritual life to a prayer partner or an accountability group? Will you worship in a local church?
  • Your academic work. What would it look like to take your coursework as seriously as if Jesus were your professor (Col 3: 23-24)? Will you budget times for study? Will you choose to seek out time with your teachers? Will you read at least one book offering a Christian view on a class subject?
  • Your friendships. This semester, who might need your care as a friend? Who might you need to lean on for your own encouragement? How will you make room in your schedule for friendships? Will you be part of a small group and, if so, how open and generous will you choose to be?
  • Your witness.  Will people around you—in your dorm, in class, on the team, at work—know that you are a follower of Jesus? Who could you invite to your fellowship sometime this fall? What if you committed to consistently pray for, say, two friends to be open to talking with you about Jesus?
  • Your personal growth. How do you need to take care of your body this fall? How will you keep developing your intellect, apart from your classes? Books? News? Films? And how will you feed your soul or cultural self? Music? Art? Theatre? Nature? Adventure?

As Paul tells the Colossians, we are “clothing ourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10), and “whatever we do, in word or deed, we do in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).  Being and doing.

So I invite you to reboot for a year of flourishing in the grace of God.

About the Author
Vice President, GFM Campus Ministry

Bobby has been with InterVarsity since 1977 in a variety of area, regional and national roles. He has served as National Director of Graduate and Faculty Ministries since 2009 to encourage and equip graduate students and faculty to follow Christ and become a redeeming influence in universities and professions. He is the author of Living the Christian Year (IVP). He and his wife, Charlene, live in Atlanta, Georgia. They have one grown son, Evan.