How To Truly Relax, Refresh, and Rejuvenate on Your Vacation

“I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

Psalm 55.6

For the past couple of days, I’ve been looking into vacation spots for me and my boys.

At first, it was fun thinking about all the possibilities and imagining all the fun things we could do. But looking at pricing and trying to figure out where to stay and how to get there, turned fun into overwhelm. 

Plus my money is not popping right now and the idea of going somewhere just to go is extremely unmotivating. I don’t have money to waste on a crappy vacation.

So I asked my son what he thought the purpose of travel and vacation is and he said “to get away from your problems, to get refreshed and renewed.”

Needless to say, I was quite impressed with his response.

It also got me thinking and wanting to dig a little deeper into my  “why”, especially as I’m learning more about the concept of self-forgetfulness and reading the book “Enough About Me” by Jen Oshman. 

I started to wonder, “How is going on vacation and traveling honoring and bringing glory to God?”

Well, God does want us to rest, not just for the sake of resting, but like my son said for rest and refresh.

So the first thing that comes to mind is Sabbath.

In today’s world, we don’t Sabbath like they did in Biblical times, especially in America.

But as Christians it’s not a suggestion, it’s a command. It forces us to realize that it’s God, not us, who keeps the world running.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t sabbath as I should. But I really want and need to.

Timothy Keller describes it as stopping the “inner striving”. 

We stop striving for that ultimate need to feel the God-sized gap and allow God to actually feel it.

Another way of resting that many of us struggle with today is sleep. The “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality is extremely toxic and many people wish they could actually get a good night’s rest. 

There are several scriptures that point us to the importance of rest and sleep.

So all of this led me to want to redefine my view of taking a vacation, specifically the why, what, and how.

Why take a vacation?

Over the past couple of years, I’m starting to understand that work is not a curse, but was a part of paradise (The Garden of Eden),  and will be a part of the new heaven and earth. God designed us to work and be a part of His work, hence Adam and Eve working in the garden. Of course, work now is in its fallen state and we need a redeemed view of it. As my perspective of work is changing I’m starting to look forward to work as a way of loving God and loving others. 

This means I try to no longer look at it as a necessary evil or solely as just a way to make money. This also means I try to practice the right balance of work and rest, daily and weekly.

Now taking vacations can be an additional practice of rest that I can add yearly, biannually, maybe even quarterly. It can be a way to refocus on God, rest, relax, and refresh, so I can come back ready to work in a way that brings glory to God and serve others.

What Type of Vacation Should I take? 

I think this will take some time and experience to better understand. I’m still trying to figure

out how to Sabbath properly and even rest daily. But I think vacations will be an extension of these. I believe fun, relaxation, retreat, and refocus should be major points of my vacation. 

It will allow me to vacation in a way to doesn’t necessarily need to be Instagramable and more in a way that is true to my God-created design. 

How Should I plan My Vacation?

 This is the question that really prompted my quest. I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with the planning of our family vacation. I’ve had a lot of influences, especially on social media, that have shown me beautiful places, fun things to do, delicious food to try and so much more. 

I didn’t ever really know where to start. The world is my oyster (within budget). And even then there are so many gurus that will us how to travel and vacation on a budget. 

Not to mention the Mommy guilt and expectation of exposing my children to different cultures, experiences, people, and locations. 

It is overwhelming!

But if I remove ALL of that and refocus on the ultimate WHY, and WHAT of my vacation, I’m able to see that it doesn’t need to be extensive, expensive, or elaborate. It can be as simple as visiting a friend or family, going to a “tried and true” or new place. Maybe even camping or a simple staycation.

The point is to relax, refresh, renew, and come back with new energy and perspective for the work I’m called to do.

It’s Never Been Just About Us

Yep! I said it. Unlike what social media and the many influencers would like us to believe, traveling and taking a vacation is not about us and our experiences.

Tell me, how many times have you been hyped to go somewhere or do something only to have it be a meh experience. It was fun and all, but you probably had to let go of some expectations to “really” enjoy it, if you enjoyed it at all.

The point is when we do things because we believe it:

  • will fulfill some longing
  • give us validation
  • makes us look important and relevant
  • get us some accolades

… it usually falls short in some way shape, or form.

But what if we truly did these things for a bigger reason…to love God and love others.

Vacation could be restful, restorative, and refreshing. Travel could be about exploring and growing our relationship with God and other people.

It would change how and where we vacationed and traveled. We could come back to our communities ready to serve and truly be image-bearers of Christ.

This makes me excited!

Of course, I’m only just beginning to explore this “what if”, but I have so much more peace about our vacation and travel plans.

God gets ALL the glory and we get to enjoy Him as we rest and refresh!

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