Vacation and God
I was on an extended vacation this spring for the birth of our two grand-babies. I noted in last week’s post, Walk of Frustration and Angels, how the enemy tempted me immediately upon returning home from vacation. It's unnerving to be transparent, but once again, I'll give it a go.
Moving from hotels to homes, homes to hotels, I reduced my alone time with God to a few verses a day and prayer. Some days I devoted less time with God, some more, but a typical day was 15 minutes in solitude.
I returned home and couldn’t wait to get back to my normal schedule with God. Not for the sake of routine, but to do what I know works best for me and my personal time to worship God and pray.
My first day back from vacation I started to write again. I wasn’t seeing progress and I quickly became frustrated and anxious. It felt hopeless to continue the struggle and the task before me was overwhelming. Most writers would consider this to be writer’s block, but I couldn’t deny what was missing spiritually. My lack of spiritual nourishment resulted in a lack of spiritual insight and spiritual potential.
I don’t generally have difficulty taking time in my day to read my Bible and pray. In fact, that’s the easy part. I’ve become accustomed to worshipping God and letting him choose how my time with him looks. The most challenging part, however, is setting time aside to digest the Word of God and to sit still in His presence. This is the most precious part of my time with God and while on vacation I reduced it to short, inspirational messages.
Don’t misunderstand the intent of this post. The amount of time with God is irrelevant. What you read is too. There have been many instances where I sat down to read my Bible and before I opened the pages, the presence of God rushed in like a mighty wind.
I can worship God and pray throughout my day, but my most cherished part of being with God during this time was missing. My days soaking in the beauty of his being had been sporadic and it was evident when I returned home.
I had difficulty getting out of my empty well of inspiration, so I decided to evaluate what I should do differently the next time I am on vacation. I broke down what a typical 15-minute devotional looks like for me. Perhaps you can relate:
- Five minutes to worship
- Five minutes to read my Bible
- Five minutes to pray
Five minutes to worship more than likely reduces my reading to a verse or two. Five minutes in prayer generally includes a limited time of thanks and praise, and/or interceding for others. As you can see, a fifteen-minute devotional is more about squeezing God in, opposed to letting God in.
Take time to read the tragic story of twin brothers, Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25. Esau chose the short way out and traded his birthright, destiny, and blessings for a bowl of stew. He ignored the long-term implications and blessings of God because he didn’t want to wait.
A few years back Steven Furtick preached a sermon on Jacob and Esau. For over 2000 years the Jewish nation refers to having descended from “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Had Esau waited for his blessing, the Bible would state that the Jewish nation descended from, “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau.”
I hate to think what blessings I’ve given up by not waiting on God. I had to ask myself, “What was my bowl of stew when I was on holiday?” To be clear, my time with my children and their families is priceless. I wouldn't trade those moments for anyone else, but I can't use my time catching up with them as a reason to not pursue God during my visits.
The reality is I reduced my time with God for the same reasons as Esau; comfort in the moment and an unwillingness to wait. I worked God around my vacation instead of working my vacation around God
Scripture provides many reasons why we should be still and wait on God. Quieting our soul in God’s presence brings hope, blessings, hearing his voice clearly, and gaining knowledge of him. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Meaningful communion with God takes work. If you want to receive spiritual knowledge, it takes time. If you want to hear God’s voice clearly and regularly, it takes patience to be still before God. Time with God is where we are “joined to the Lord in one spirit." I Corinthians 6:17
I must be content and know every day with God will look different. He doesn't chastise me, but he knows I need him. What I've learned works best for me is to not give myself a time frame with God. Short is good, but most often, more time with God is transformational.
Last week’s blog post, Walk of Frustration, as well as this one, came from an extended period of time with God. I worshipped, prayed, read my Bible, walked, complained, praised, and gave thanks. God heard me and answered. I had more reasons to praise him.
It's that time of year for parks, beaches, and vacations with our loved ones. I challenge you to think ahead and ensure your vacation is centered around time with God. Be blessed during your time of rest.
“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1
“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” Psalm 8:34
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25
This is a great plugin to share a photo of the newest members to the Odden family. Welcome Elijah and Margaux.
Take time to read Angel's Comment below and how her parents put God first during their vacation.