Going on vacation this summer?
Don’t forget to pack your Bible.
That may sound awfully “preachy,” but hear us out.
We’re trying to make your trip less stressful.
Vacations, at their best, include elements of the quiet, reflective periods we read about in the Bible.
Scripture offers us many examples of Jesus retreating to solitary places, away from the crowds that followed him everywhere. Read Mark 1:35, Mark 6:32 or Luke 4:42.
Jesus spent countless hours in prayer, speaking with his divine father, sorting out his priorities.
Is that the kind of vacation you’re taking this summer?
If anything, the vacations we subject ourselves and our families to these days induce more stress than they alleviate.
Stand in an airport security line for five minutes if you want proof. Or listen to a rental car agent describe the five types of additional insurance offered by the company — for only five times the price you agreed to pay.
In a recent poll, half of Americans said they were more exhausted after going on vacation than before they left, according to Dr. Edward T. Creagan, who writes the “Stress Blog” for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
(That’s right. Stress has a blog.)
“Seems that relaxing is hard work,” Creagan writes. “What can you do?”
We offer a few suggestions:
• Shift your focus to include service: Many of us participate in mission trips, but have you considered ways to turn your vacation into an opportunity to serve?
Take time to look at the needs and ministries in the places you intend to visit. You might be surprised how putting others first in your mind reduces the pressure to assemble the “world’s greatest vacation.”
• Make worship a part of your plans: Christians who live in towns near beach resorts have told us that they find it irksome when vacationers use their churches as a place to take communion before scooting out the back door.
Vacations give us opportunities to fellowship with our brothers and sisters from across the country. Find a church and stay after services to meet the members. Bless each other’s lives with your stories of faith.
(On an admittedly selfish note, local church members can be invaluable sources of advice for the best places to eat.)
• Stay where you are: Why must we be on the road to be on vacation?
Take time off from work and find things to do in your hometown. There likely are museums or attractions nearby that your friends from out of town have visited, but you haven’t.
Avoid the temptation to turn your “stay-cation” into an around-the-house work camp. Sure, there are projects at home that need doing, but they can wait.
Regardless of where you spend the coming weeks, remember that each new day is a gift from God — and an opportunity to glorify his name.
May we all find time this summer to relax, refresh and recharge our batteries. Most importantly, let us refocus on the work God has called us to do — proclaiming the good news of his kingdom.