“You’re the God who stays,Chris Tomlin
you’re the God who runs in my direction,
when the whole world walks away.
You’re the God who stands with wide open arms,
and you tell me nothing I have ever done, can separate my heart from the God who stays.”
Summer break. Vacation. Stay-cation.
At so many times in our lives, we get to a point where we realize that we are just exhausted and we need a vacation. We need to take a break. To quiet the busyiness of our lives and reconnect with those who are closest to us. Time seems to be slipping away, and we utilize these opportunities to slow down….to remember what is truly important to us.
This time of year seems to be the perfect time for families to vacation, and to leave behind the norm. To put aside those daunting everyday responsibilities like dishes and laundry, emails and files, clients and conversations. We can make our escape into a different place, with different activities and memories to be had. We want to be catered to in a beautiful place where we can connect with nature, where we can sit and enjoy the sun, or stare at the beauty of the mountains.
Our heart and our mind need this freedom. We need to be freed from the stress of our jobs and our responsibilities. We need to free our mind of the thoughts that race over finances, and decisions. We unpack the “load” that we carry daily and exchange it for a brief “hiatus” of peace.
As you think about making your vacation plans this summer, I ask that you invite God on vacation with you. You don’t have to save Him a seat in the minivan, but plan time with Him in your vacation itinerary. If we desire to be in relationship with the Lord, we must seek to be with Him as well. We must “reconnect” with Him and “reset” our relationship just like we do with our spouses and children. Similar to wanting to make new memories with our families, we must look to make that same connection with the Lord.
Let us not forget that the Lord looks to reconnect with us the same way. The Lord looks for these opportunities to show us that He is the God that stays, and the God that pursues our heart. In those times when we look upon creation in awe and wonder, what a gift that we can allow ourselves to look pass creation to the Creator. As we marvel at the beauty of the ocean, as we photograph the splendor of a sunrise or sunset, may we not forget that those are the fruits of a God that loves us. A God that wishes to splash beauty all around us.
Are we aware of how God loves us through nature? Do we see him in the gentle babbling of a brook, or the perfect blue of a sky? Do we hear Him in the crashing of waves or the warmth of the sun? God is the perfect artist who spreads out a masterpiece before us, all to show us how much He loves us.
We love when our mind and heart align and we seek out a relationship with someone. Love pushes us beyond what we are comfortable doing, and moves us to the freedom of expression. To “love” the Lord, we must spend time being with Him. We must learn the sound of His voice in our heart. How can we make space for this on our vacation? In a practical sense, what does that look like? Maybe pack your Bible and spend a few minutes on the deck of the beach house in prayer each morning. Maybe it looks like walks on the beach thanking the Lord for all the blessings in your life. Maybe you grab that spiritual reading that you ordered off amazon weeks ago or download the Bible in a Yearpodcast for the flight. Where has God been drawing your heart? It might be valuing those silent moments when you are alone with God, and He reminds you that He loves you.
We need to show our children that our relationship with the Lord is not a “thing to do” that we leave behind when we vacation. In fact, spend more time with the Lord on vacation than you do at home. You have more time. Look into Mass for Sunday, say your grace before meals while you are out, and encourage your children to take journals and spend time with the Lord. Talk as a family about what you can do to grow closer to the Lord when we return home.
I really want to encourage us not to be on “vacation from our vocation.” Our primary vocation is to love God with all our heart, and to live life on this earth in anticipation of heaven. Our vocation is to seek the heart of God and to desire to imitate Him in our image and likeness. My prayer is that as you vacation, you grow further in love with your vocation as a son/daughter, as a husband/wife, as a father/ mother, or as a spouse.
When we think about vacation, and what our heart delights in, let us not forget the powerful love that God has for us. My prayer is that God continues to pour out His love for you while you are on vacation. That you see Him as the ultimate partner. That you take your Bible and open Scripture, that as you free yourself from the distractions of this world, you fill it with words of truth.