First, we really need vacations, just as we really need Sabbath rest each week. There’s a rhythm to life. The heart beats, then it rests. It beats, then rests. We wake each morning, then we sleep every night. We wake, then we sleep. We spend energy, then we take in food to replenish what we spent. Vacation is like that. We’ve got to have periods of rest and joy and beauty in our year.
So here is what we’ve learned about vacations:
First, ask God! Don’t just assume you know what is best this summer. Ask God what he’d have you do, and when, and with whom. Too many folks squander their vacation because they don’t ask God what he has for them. We went to Kauai because we prayed about it last winter, several times. “Where should we go, Lord? For how long?”
Visits are not vacations. Most folks spend their vacation time visiting relatives. That rarely is restful and restoring. Visits are not vacations. Don’t confuse the two.
Pray over your vacation beforehand! You know there is a thief. You know he hates joy. The mistake we often make is somehow thinking that vacation time is exempt from the Battle. It’s not. I spent weeks ahead of time praying over our Kauai trip – praying for safety. For the weather. For our travel. For our love as a family to be full.
Don’t spend your vacation running. Too many times the temptation is to fill the time with busy-ness, running here and there, touring, trying to “fit it all in.” Most folks get home and need a vacation from their vacation. Don’t squander it running around. We spent most our time within a few miles of the place we stayed. Resting. Being renewed.
Don’t drop your guard. The temptation when we get to wherever it is we were going for vacation is to drop our usual prayer life, drop our armor, and think “this is time out.” It’s not. To protect the time, I got up early every morning and prayed hard over the day. Don’t be lulled into a false security.
As life gets more busy and complicated, I’ve found it harder to take time to even think about planning for vacation. But that reminds me all the more how much we all really need that time away. Vacations don’t have to be times of just escaping from the world or being entertained, but can be really meaningful times to rest, be renewed and to grow.