My husband and I had not had a real vacation (vacay) together for almost 9 years. God did not design our bodies to go 100 mph, 24/7 without a significant break now and then to refuel, refresh, and recharge. We were living life going from one event to the next, or one crisis to another. We had moved 4 times, worked 5 different jobs between the two of us, launched a ministry, gotten two kids through high school and then one through college and move overseas, battled a myriad of physical issues, including cancer, and we were burned out. So we told ourselves that this year we were going to taka a REAL vacay.
Mission trips are awesome, but they don’t count as a real vacay. A real vacation means going somewhere far enough away from home where you don’t know anyone else but your loved one, and if your kids go with you, they are old enough to drive and do their own thing. It means sleeping in, not being on any set schedule, seeing new places, and doing enjoyable things you normally don’t have time to do. Forego counting calories. Taking as many naps in one day as you like. Slowing down long enough to read the entire book. Going for long walks along the beach. Having nice lingering dinners with no mobile devices, freeing you to look at each other and engage in great conversations. Enjoying an evening sitting on the deck gazing at the stars. It means turning off the media/information overload and allowing yourself to decompress and totally relax – guilt free.
So, my hubby and I and our younger grown daughter, packed up the SUV and headed to a friend’s beautiful home in North Carolina for a peaceful week of sun, beach, and surf. We couldn’t wait to get our toes in the sand, soak up some Vitamin D, and DO NOTHING. Funny thing was it took all of us two days to unwind and not feel fidgety or obligated to jam-pack each day with nonstop activities.
As the week unfolded we found ourselves relaxing more and more, and as our minds, soul and spirit were at rest, we began to feel refreshed. There’s something very calming about being by water and the sound of the ocean and gulls. We were able to spend long, uninterrupted time with the Lord meditating on His Word and listening to Him speak into our hearts. The more we shut out the world and let Him in; our senses were heightened to His voice and presence.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Times of rest are vital to our overall well-being. We need to build them into our lives on a regular basis. If you can’t get away for a real vacay, enjoy a “staycay.” Take a day or two at home to deliberately unplug from the madness and be refreshed in the Lord. Turn off the TV and your media devices. Don’t answer your phone. Stay in your pajamas all day. Give your burdens to the Lord and sit at His feet and feel His calming presence wash over you.
Ahhhhhhh…. feel better?
After a week at the beach, we did. It was just what our Heavenly Father knew we needed, and we were appreciative of every minute.
It was hard to bid farewell to the beach and surroundings, but we left feeling recharged and ready to return home with renewed perspective and revitalized energy. We won’t let it go another 9 years before doing this again. In fact, we see the importance of taking a real “vacay” at least once a year if possible – definitely every two years, with “staycays” in between. And when I feel the burdens of the world weighing me down, I will remember those tranquil times of sitting on the beach, soothed by the sound of the ocean and communing with the Lord. I will give my burdens over to Him and find rest in my innermost being.
For His glory in His peace,