Five summers ago, I began a tradition with my boys that we call Field Trip Fridays. Most summer Fridays will find us on some kind of outing. Sometimes we stay close to home and learn about places we drive by all the time but never stop to explore. Other times we pack a picnic lunch and take a day trip to a new location. Most summers we try to squeeze in an overnight visit somewhere that has both something to learn and fun things to do.

I recently shared with a group of ladies the reason I started our Field Trip Friday adventures was I recognized I am more of a work parent than a play parent. I take care of things. I get the children where they need to be. I sign permission slips, take snacks to school parties, and check homework. I keep our schedules organized, buy the food, fix meals, and keep our laundry from overtaking the house. But I’m not who they ask to be with when they want to play a game or just be silly. It isn’t my nature and they know it.

I realized that if I wanted a deep, connected relationship with my children then I had to be about more than just work. That’s how Field Trip Fridays evolved. In my attempt to spend dedicated time with them, I became DELIBERATE about creating opportunities to pause my work and just be with them. I understood that without that DELIBERATE dedication to spend time with them, the summers, and the years, would simply slip away.

My children did not ask for Field Trip Fridays, but they talk about them often. We make photo books after the summers are over and we’ll pull them out in the middle of winter to remind ourselves of the fun we have. When we see something that might be an interesting place to visit, someone will say, that would make a great Field Trip Friday. It is not uncommon for people who know about our adventures to make suggestions for future outings.

I shared this part of my life with the group I was speaking to because our focus was about the importance of studying the bible. If we want to know Jesus —  really know Him — we must be DELIBERATE about spending time with Him. We can’t just be a busy disciple. We must also be a quiet disciple. A humble, teachable disciple who comes to Him with a heart that is open to understanding more about His character. A disciple who longs for Him to transform our heart and mind through sitting with Him, listening to Him, and depending on Him.

How DELIBERATE have we been about deepening our relationship with Jesus? Like with my sons, it doesn’t just happen. But also like Field Trip Fridays, time dedicated to Jesus will create lasting memories of His presence that will connect us to Him in a way that cannot be undone. When times are challenging and the world threatens to press in from all sides, will we know Him well enough to turn to Him in our need? Peace!