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Vacation with a purpose

February 29, 2008

I was able to go away on “vacation” last week. I have only had one other week off where I wasn’t serving in the last five years, and it was the first time that I have left the area for time away. Through the week I found myself thinking about vacation and why we take it. During the week I listened to a sermon from Francis Chan of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. In that sermon he challenged people to throw out what we know about the Bible and Christianity, to no longer be influenced by society and what others believe, and to shape our thoughts, values, and priorities based on what the Bible really says. In order to that we have to actually open the book and read it!

Does the Bible talk about vacation? I can’t find it.
Does the Bible talk about sabbath? Yes!
Does the Bible talk about stepping away from the normal daily schedule, responsibilities, etc.? Yes, but for a purpose, to pursue time with God.

I spent a week on the Eastern seaboard exploring, renewing, and stepping away from my normal schedule and responsibilities, but the overarching purpose of my time was to be with God, to restore my relationship with him, and to listen to him. A week before the trip I posted When Your Spiritual Bottom Falls Out because my relationship with God was not right. Over the last two months I have become very aware of deep-seated sin that has been in my life for 25+ years. It has been a painful process, but I can say I am learning what it means to be a new creation in Christ. I have given over that sin to God and he has forgiven me and set me free. My attitude, priorities, values, views, relationships, responsibilities, etc. are all changing because of the journey I have been on the last few weeks and because of how God is working in my life.

Should we take vacation…is it Biblical? I don’t see where it is Biblical, but I do see where we need to take time out. Christ stepped away from the crowds, away from the disciples, and even away from his closest three friends all to spend time with God. He didn’t do it to fill selfish desires, to sleep and relax his human body, or to have a change of pace. He used the time to let God fill and change his desires, to let God fill and restore him, and to let God change him from the inside out.

Has our view of vacation, recreation, renewal, and enjoyment moved away from God’s Biblical standard? I don’t have a clear answer to that, but I do know that by taking a week off where every day I asked God how to spend my time, where to go, what to do, and what to listen to/read/reflect on I have come home at a better place than I have been for the last four years. As I look at the rest of my “vacation” this year I am already planning to attend a conference focused on spiritual restoration (one I have been seeking to attend for several years), planning to go on one or two mission trips, and if time still allows I will serve at a youth camp. I want my life to be poured out for others due to my love for God and I want him to be glorified. No “vacation” will ever match the joy, peace, happiness, and rest that will come from that. I can sleep at home, and I can do wonderfully enjoyable things with my time even while at home, but my desire is to live by “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:2-3

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. heaintthroughwithmeyet permalink
    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm

    Hi Sherie,

    I love reading your blog and do so as time allows even if I don’t comment a lot.

    I have a question for you……

    I am off work right now for a week since I hurt my knee. In this time which I don’t want to waste, I want to get closer to the Father………so here…
    Tell me, how I can do that! I don’t really have a clue. I am going to church now for almost two years but I feel I am still so very babylike. Can you help me?????

    Any answer would be greatly appreciated!!

    Love and Peace
    Andrea 🙂

  2. flowerjohnson permalink
    February 29, 2008 1:13 pm

    i think that even if the Bible doesn t mention anything about vacations, we can have them. God is good and if we are with Him in our souls we can enjoy ourselves. God is too big to fit all of his knowledge and sayings in the Bible, some of the thiongs he wants us to do, are deep in our heart.
    this is my personal opinion, of course

  3. March 2, 2008 9:53 pm

    flowerjohnson – I think a couple weeks ago I would have agreed with you. I am just adjusting my views a bit. I am not saying we can’t take vacations, but instead am just looking at all of life, including vacations as being time that can have purpose and be dedicated to glorifying God. The vacation I just took, mission trips, service projects, youth camps, and other times I have spent purposeful time have been much more meaningful than just a week of relaxation in my life.

  4. March 2, 2008 10:23 pm

    Andrea, I know you have been going through a lot of changes and struggles. I stay up to date with your blog regularly. I appreciate your heart and desire to not waste this time and I am praying for you.

    The question you asked is so powerful and I am sure it is heartfelt. I know God knows your heart and hears your plea. Attending church is a great step along the course. I know you are reading, trying to attend a fellowship/study group, and spending time in the Bible. Those are also really key activities.

    One of the things that might be really helpful is to find a spiritual mentor, although that could be hard this week. Is there someone in your church or life that could help you by setting an example, sharing parts of their journey, and talking through some questions and struggles with you? Another key that has been important in my life is learning to have the right attitudes. I really like to do things my way and learning to submit and surrender to God’s plan has been hard. I have had to learn and truly accept that God’s way is best, and to listen to Him when I would so much rather try my own ideas.

    For this week, start each day in prayer. Don’t just talk to God, but stop for a few minutes and just sit thinking about God and asking for him to show himself to you. Ask him how to spend your time, what to read, who to talk to, how to care for your knee, what to eat, etc. Commit each day to Him. Imagine him spending time with you and expressing his love, care, and joy for you. You are his child, his chosen daughter. He enjoys spending time with you even more than you do with your grandson. It will bring him so much joy to spend time with you every day. Expect him to show that joy to you. Spend time each day thinking only of those things you are thankful for. You might even try making a list, and add to it each day.

    Those are just a few ideas from my opinions and experience. God hears your heart and knows you don’t want to waste this time. Seek him out.

  5. heaintthroughwithmeyet permalink
    March 3, 2008 11:42 am

    Thank you I will do that! I am so thankful that you took the time and left suggesstions for me. THANKS!!!

    Love
    Andrea

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