Vacation - for many of us, this might seem like a foreign concept. Or maybe vacation simply means more packing, more laundry, more logistics and more exhaustion. Unfortunately, we live in a very busy and stressed society that often jokes about returning from vacations more tired than when we left.
When did we forget how to relax, to unwind, to just do nothing? When did we start feeling guilty for sleeping in and laying on a couch and reading a book?
Maybe we are putting too much emphasis on vacation as an event, rather than ensuring that our lives are filled with mini-vacations. What would it look like to have a break every week, every day?
I know for myself that my goal is to have quiet time with God every day, to have a Sabbath day every week and to have a weekend getaway once a quarter to just rest, decompress and ideally return refreshed. While I have yet to achieve my ideal rhythm, if I don’t at least have a goal then I know I will never gain some downtime.
May I encourage you to consider the following “vacation” ideas to add to your rhythm of life?
1) Daily quiet time and solitude - this doesn’t need to last an hour or even thirty minutes (although that would be so nice, right?). Rather, it might be ten minutes, or five, or even just 60 seconds. Lock the door on the bathroom, go hide in the garage, or take a slightly longer shower. And I would encourage you to not use this time to make a to-do list or to think about things to do. Let the Holy Spirit whisper to your heart, take a moment to pray and worship God, and maybe just enjoy the sunset.
2) Weekly breaks - I know this starts to get really challenging, but our bodies and spirits are designed to enjoy some downtime. Whether you need to lean on family members, friends, or your church, don’t be afraid to ask for help in order to gain a few hours of alone time. Whether this becomes a time of great spiritual refreshment, or uninterrupted grocery shopping, it is important to have in your rhythm.
3) Regular getaways - sometimes we just need to say “no” and get away from the hustle and bustle of life. A quick drive to the beach or mountains, an overnighter in a different city or even just visiting old friends can provide so much refreshment to our souls. If your life is anything like mine, these getaways must be put on the calendar or they will never happen. I will never have the time to rest and relax - I must make the time. And don’t ever feel guilty for enjoying your getaway!
Maybe if we were all a bit better at the smaller breaks in life, we would be able to better enjoy and embrace our bigger vacations. Maybe if we practice how to ask for help, how to enjoy solitude and how to say no on a regular basis, we can then embrace a long vacation without anxiety and guilt. Now, I wish I could guarantee that airlines and TSA and traffic and such won’t add to anxiety on vacation, but at least you will enjoy some inner quiet and rest that so many of us are yearning for.
Lord, You never designed us to run at full speed 24/7. Rather, we are built for rhythm. A time to run and a time to sit. A time to work hard and a time to rest. A time to keep a schedule and a time to get lost in the moment. Help us to find this balance, to embrace rest and relaxation and bless our vacations this summer. Amen!