But I am close to God, and that is good. The Lord God is my protection. I will tell all that you have done. (Psalm 73:28)
We anticipate vacations. We plan for them, deciding where we want to go, where we can realistically go, how we’ll get there, how long we’ll be gone, what we’ll do when we’re there (even if it’s nothing), and when we’ll return home to real life (sigh).
How strategic are you about including God in your vacations?
If we’re not intentional about it, we’ll take a vacation from God. Well, that’s not exactly true. Of course, God is present no matter where we are, but we can easily ignore his presence. Perhaps you mainly run to God during the trials of life. When you take a vacation, you escape the daily reminders of those trials. Your need for God slips from your mind as well. Or perhaps you have solid habits of prayer and Bible study. When you take a vacation, you’re away from your daily routine, including the prompts to seek and trust God with the details of your life.
I’m not suggesting you spend your entire vacation holed in your resort with your nose in God’s Word (although I feel a sense of comfort and longing as I consider the idea). You can vacation in God’s presence while enjoying where you are and the people with whom you’re travelling. Try these simple ideas:
- Get out of your routine. Replace your usual prayer time with a stroll or hike. Press pause on your current Bible study and pick up a new devotional.
- Start a new routine. If you struggle with establishing a routine at home, resolve to begin one away from home. Get up a few minutes earlier than everyone else and steal away for a committed time between you and God. Keep it simple, so you’re more likely to continue the pattern once you return home, even if you have to make a few modifications.
- Savor the wonder of your location. Intentionally look for God in whatever you’re doing every day of your vacation. Perhaps you’re in a beautiful location. Perhaps you see people enjoying themselves. Perhaps you meet new people. Perhaps you have moments of quiet when everything around you stills. Glorify God in all you do.
What additional ideas do you have?
You know your routine. You know your spiritual needs (but not better than God knows them). Be intentional in planning a vacation with God. He can teach you some astounding lessons and give you clear insight when you seek his presence away from your routine.
When I first travelled to Israel, I led a small group of women who would be touring and serving alongside each other. We didn’t all know each other, but we were about to experience a trip of a lifetime together. I studied God’s Word for nearly a year leading up to the trip, familiarizing myself with the locations where we’d be. (Even with extensive study, nothing compared to actually being on location and learning through personal experience.) I also wanted to maximize our time and focus as a group, so I wrote devotions corresponding to the plans we had for each day. I didn’t want it to be just about head knowledge of where we were, what we were doing, and what God’s Word has to say about specific locations. I also wanted it to be about a familiarity with who God is and what he wants for and from each one of us.
On the first evening, as we got to know each other, I gave each woman a puzzle-piece band to place around her wrist. My challenge was for each woman to wear the
band the entire trip as a reminder to be attentive to God putting pieces of her faith puzzle together and trusting him for the right timing, pieces, and big picture. You can do the same. He won’t let you down.
The journey for each woman was specifically individualized. Even though we travelled and served side-by-side, God spoke to each of us in different ways. We were intentionally looking for God, and he didn’t let us down.
Perhaps you need more encouragement and a challenge: Plan a vacation with God. Plan a time away from your routine with the sole purpose of connecting with God and savoring his presence. It doesn’t have to be an expensive, week-long vacation. It can be an afternoon at the park. You don’t have to be physically still. You can walk, boat, or bike. You can write. You can read and speak God’s Word. Be spiritually still. When you intentionally seek God, you will find him. He will rain peace on you. He will challenge you to action. He will give you just want you need. But you must run to him. He’s ready.