The summer vacation is calling. Whether you’ll be hanging out at home with the kids or jetting off to the ocean, it is a time of change. We know that God is with us wherever we go but how can we stay connected to Him on vacation? In this blog we will firstly look at some ways in which we can meet with God on vacation, followed by some top tips for a restful vacation.
A change is as good as a rest
A change is as good as a rest, goes the old saying, and there is a lot of truth in it. I always appreciate time away for the different perspective it gives me on certain things that I am working through; the change of routine can bring a whole new way of looking at things.
The long summer vacation throws everything up into the air. The kids suddenly have no routine, visitors come and go and we may be able to get away for a week or more to enjoy a different pace of life. But how can we stay connected to our Father when our normal pattern of life is constantly changing?
I know that for me, personally, there is always a period of adjustment during vacation time. We try to achieve less. All my work gets shunted into the evenings, we are a lot freer to play things by ear, see what the weather does, and what we feel like doing. There is less pressure to do things quickly; everything just seems to slow down a little. This change in pace can be a blessing – the thing I have learned whilst raising a family is that God meets us where we are.
He is with us
Whatever our day looks like, and wherever we are going, He is with us. So the good news is that as a Christian, wherever you are going on vacation, Jesus is coming too!
“You have searched me, Lord, and You know me….when I sit and when I rise… You discern my going out and my lying down;… If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139 1-2, 9-10
Remember Johah? Just like we can’t outrun our problems, we can’t run away from God. Wherever we go, there He is. He is with us on the beach or at home with the kids, out hiking or camping out in the wilderness. Taking God on vacation with us is wonderful – it gives us a whole new way of seeing things and helps us to come closer to Him in unexpected ways.
Getting physically active and getting the sweet life-giving air in your lungs is wonderfully refreshing and it’s good for you too. As Christians, we know that all of creation gives glory to God, so let’s thank Him for that and enjoy being out in it.
When you’re sunbathing, thank God for your holiday, for rest and for the warmth of the sun. Maybe switch over to the Glorify App during your sunbathing session to get a few minutes of meditation or a soothing playlist – and don’t forget your sunscreen!
Driving through a mountain valley fills me with awe at God’s creation. When we travel, we get the most wonderful chance to see more and more of His amazing earth.
Connecting with loved ones
Vacation often gives us more time to talk to our loved ones. Talking through life and the things that you are struggling with or mulling over helps you to see the situation more clearly. I often find that the more I talk through a problem, the easier it is to figure out what to do. Journalling also works for this. I always bring my journal on vacation with me and make sure I find a few minutes to do a life check-in – what am I thinking about, how am I feeling, am I feeling overwhelmed by anything? If I am overthinking something, I will just write a whole page of how I’m feeling, and then it feels like I’ve put the problem down and I don’t have to carry it anymore.
Here are my four top tips for staying connected to God when on vacation
1. Pray for blessing
As we are setting off on a road trip with my family, we always ask that God would keep us safe as we travel, that our time away would be blessed and that we would return refreshed.
He is our heavenly Father and, as Christians, we can ask Him to bless us.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;…make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6: 24-26
2. Expect to be surprised
One of the wonderful things about being on vacation is that we are more open to spontaneity. We may not know where we are going that day or what we will do. A perfect sunset may surprise us and we may stay out later. Maybe we’ll wander into an art gallery that we didn’t know was open late. Be open to what God wants to show you. In an unfamiliar place, where everything is new, and all the usual agendas of hurry are off the table, expect to be surprised. In fact, why not ask God to surprise you?
3. Open up your thinking
Allow the change of circumstance to refresh the way that you think about things. I almost always return from vacation or a time away with a new perspective on a situation that I have been mulling over. It was during a time away at my mother-in-law’s house that I realized I was feeling really miserable at work and that I should just hand my notice in while I finished my studies. And I was sitting on a cliff, looking out at the sunset over the ocean when I finally realized that I really wanted another baby. Sometimes, these thoughts are there, milling around inside of us, and it is only the jolt or the change of circumstance that brings them to the fore and makes us listen to them.
4. Don’t be tempted to bring work on vacation
Make sure you take time to recharge, to shut off from any demands on you. Take as many steps as you can to protect your time. If you are a parent, try to make sure you take turns parenting so you both get a rest. This time is for you, to recharge and refill. Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Be kind to yourself
Let yourself rest
Listen to yourself
Have long conversations
I hope this blog has shown you how, as a Christian, you can stay connected to God on vacation. May you be blessed in your travelling and in your resting. Travel opens up the mind to new people, new places, and new blessings. So be open to the world and to what God has to say to you during this time.
Here is a prayer you can use when going on vacation:
Thank You that You are with us always.
We ask that in this time away, You would come near to us.
Refresh our vision, reset our direction.
Give us rest and refuel us.
Keep us safe in all our comings and goings.
In the name of Jesus,