To do lists and suitcases. Yep, you guessed it. We’re hitting the road soon. Vacation? No, not really. In fact, I will hardly see my husband all next week as he is one of the directors of a one week Christian youth camp that we’ve been involved in for many, many years (check it out here). We will have a few days over the Fourth, but other than that it’s mostly ministry for our family… but that’s okay with us because we know that this is exactly what God desires us to be doing with this week. A week of actual vacation probably wouldn’t even feel right, at this point!
These days my mind has been consumed with thoughts surrounding our being away. “I can’t forget to pack that.” “I need to get that at the store before we leave.” “How many diapers do I need to pack for 10 days away?” You get the picture. A lot of people do this. But one question that I asked myself just today and I would challenge you to ask yourself was this:
What am I vacationing from?
Vacations are a very personal thing. It’s my time to do what I want to do. But where does God fit into our vacations? In a recent blog post on personal fulfillment, Carolyn Mahaney says something that I believe is very applicable to these thoughts on vacations.
“Our culture is constantly telling us to find our life; that we’re the center of our world, and as such, we need to take care of “me” first.
But when I’m the center of my world, my world becomes very small—because I’m the only person in it. When I try to find fulfillment in anything besides loving Christ and serving Him, I will only end up more frustrated and completely unfulfilled.”
Vacations or extended breaks from everyday life are important. Trying new things is great. Resting is necessary. But, as Carolyn says later on in the same article, the goal of learning new things should be “to glorify God with our gifts,” and the goal of resting should be “to strengthen us for service.”
My encouragement to you (and myself) is to not waste your vacation by vacationing from God. Find physical and emotional rest, but continue to be spiritually challenged – whether it’s by attending a church near your vacation destination, having an extended time of prayer while basking in a particularly beautiful part of God’s creation, or setting up your beach chair and (instead of picking up a summer novel) opening up the Good Book for a while.
Next week I’m looking forward to going to the beach with my son, shopping with my mom, and hanging out with some friends that I don’t see often enough – lots of really fun stuff. But, since it is a camp week, for me (and many others) the highlights of the week are the evening services. Without a doubt, whether Jadon allows me to stay for 10 minutes or an hour, it is a truly beneficial time for me.
As you begin your countdown to your own vacation, don’t leave God out of your plans.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
Night or day, at work or play, He’s not just a part of my life, but He is my life.