A Vacation—or Rest?
April 26, 2023
I was blessed to be able to spend a few days by the ocean recently. It was incredibly relaxing and restful—and it got me thinking about rest, relaxation, and vacation. No doubt you have said, “Boy do I need a vacation! I need time to get away.” You do go on vacation, but within a month or six weeks, you are restating the very same words.
Vacation at its best is a perfect opportunity for more than fun. It is a time for relaxation, rest, and reflection, things we actually need on a regular basis. Stopping to reflect is a critically important practice that we too often fail to engage in as we exist in cycles of endless busyness. Stopping to reflect is amplified by the ACTION of intentionally shedding some things that are not serving me well to increase time, as well as mental and physical capacity, to move forward with other things.
Though we have great intentions, few of us make time for intentional quiet time, sacred space, and silence. Our world demands almost constant connection and constant production. This is draining emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Anne LeClaire says, “We live in a culture that perpetuates the belief that when we have a lot going on and a lot of excitement, we’re really alive. In truth, we are really alive when we can be at peace within our own skin.” (Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence). Research repeatedly shows that rest melts away stress.
Everyone needs intentional moments of self-flection and rest set aside to slow down the daily hustle and help you process and understand what has been going on in your life. When you reflect, ask yourself this question:
How are you resting? We can all relate to how difficult and overwhelming the past couple of years have been. Most of us are struggling with transition. I want to encourage you to rest. Step away from the rush and the pressure and prayerfully enter the presence of God to process and reflect on what you have been experiencing.
Isaiah reminds us, “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]” (Isaiah 26:3 AMP).
Ask pertinent questions to help prompt you to make more time for God, refocus, and move away from sleepwalking through life.
- What are my biggest blessings from this past year?
- What has God taught me and how can I continue to apply that to my life?
- Am I satisfied with what I am doing?
- What can I stop and/or start doing?
As you work with God, invite others to join. Restoration and rest is not about isolation. Helping
others who feel discouraged, lifting them up, can help restore us.
Maybe in our world of hurriedness and pushing forward we have the wrong thinking about rest, at least from a Christ-follower’s perspective. The Hebrew writer calls us into the rest of God. Hebrews 4:9-11 says, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.”
The rest of God is not a rest from work—it’s a rest in work. It’s partnering with God to do what He is empowering you to do by His grace, trusting the part you can’t do into His capable hands.
If you asked the average person what they are stressed out about, it will have something to do with not enough money or not enough time. Over and over God lets us know that we can never have stress-free rest until we learn to trust God in these areas.
Our default mode is to think that when the church talks about these two things, it’s just a “business” sort of manipulation. The church talks about serving because they need help to carry out a program. The church talks about tithing and giving because they need funds for a project. Neither of those thoughts are true. It is a misguided rationalization, and the Enemy of our soul attempts to steal our rest.
Apart from believing and trusting what God has said, we will never enter into the rest He has prepared and designed for His people to enjoy. Our finances and our time are two ways God has given us to learn to rest and trust Him. When I trust Him to be first in my finances and my schedule, I find that I can relax even in chaotic times because I know God has me and will keep His promises to me.
So, this summer as sunshine and vacation days are upon us, “Let us be diligent to enter that rest…” God will be faithful to you as you trust Him with your whole heart and whole life, and then rest, relax, and renew.