“So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day, having finished his task, God rested from all his work.”
Genesis 2: 1, 2 New Living Translation
Vacations are a debatable luxury to some. There is an enormous amount of work required to leave the office, the home, the yard, or the pets for a week. By the time you are packed and ready to leave home, you’re exhausted. And when you return home, a week or two later, there’s all the mail to sort, clothes to wash, and food to buy. There’s not much rest to be found between coming and going. Vacations are of dubious benefit for some.
Not for me! I love my time away and I’ll take it any time I can. My family and I starting the packing process for a vacation next week, so let me invite you to watch as I pack.
The stuff I’m taking . . . gratitude, Bible, books, and time.
The first thing for me to pack is an attitude of gratitude. As much hassle as vacation are the majority of the world never goes on one. Last summer, I spent a week in one of the poorest barrios of Mexico City. Those folks and their families might never go spent a week in a lovely home by a lake or beach. I’m grateful that I can go away.
The second thing that I always pack is my Bible. I may be taking a break from my work at the church for a week or two, but I’m not taking a vacation from God. I start my mornings on my vacations the same way I start my mornings at home: with a cup of coffee and my Bible. I read God’s Word, I reflect upon it and I pray. Lack of time and full schedules are the enemies for many of us as we try to find time to seek God each day. It may be that for a week or two, you have the time that you otherwise lack.
The last thing that I pack is the awareness that I have time to be with the people I like and love the most, which includes my wife, Leslie and our sons, Sam and Miles. With wide open days, I always plan to do something fun together, either as a family or individually. This might mean that Sam and I go for a hike, Miles and I go for a bike ride and Leslie and I get a chance to sit and talk. If we are fortunate to have other family members or friends with us, I seek to get time for a long chat with each of them.
The stuff I’m leaving . . . expectations, complaints, and work.
I also leave some things at home. My expectations are the first thing I leave behind. The more expectations I have for how the week should go or how people should act, the more I’m getting set up for disappointment, frustration and anger. My friends in Alcoholics Anonymous have a great saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments!” Indeed, they are. So I lower my expectations and try to stay open to what others want and how I can add to the week by helping out in the kitchen or making a grocery store run.
I’m leaving my complaining attitude at home, or better yet, in the trash by the curb. I have been reading through the Old Testament book of Numbers. This book recounts the children of Israel’s odyssey in the wilderness. Those people complained constantly! And God was bugged. Nothing ruins any trip—a week at the shore or 40 years in the desert—than complaining. Stop it and revisit the first thing I packed.
I need to leave my work in Bucks County. This is the hardest thing for me to leave, I admit. I will take my laptop but will really try not to answer emails or work on projects. If God rested, I had better rest too. You can ask me how I did when I get back.
So, enjoy your time away and the people you get to go away with! May God give you lots of joy as He recharges your batteries! And be sure to find and eat the best ice cream you can. You’re on vacation, after all.