I saw a book today at the store—a 90 day devotional for summer. It called it the season of joy, and the cover was red with flakes and berries. It made me smile. But also think seriously about summer vacation.
What do you do on your vacation?
Grab a towel with a beach read and zone out?
Go on a mad dash to see everything and leave exhausted?
Do what everyone else wanted and leave drained and irritated?
That is not what you had hoped, is it? Why not take a few minutes now, lay yours plans and come home regenerated, ready to bless, create and write, sing, or publish with fresh vision. These five R’s can help.
- Our first “task” is to refresh. You are busy packing your suitcase, checking schedules and seeing to others. Along with this take a deep breath, and savor the change of pace, the new surroundings or your family atmosphere. Consider deliberately not posting to social media—perhaps not even looking at it. To refresh, you’ll want to welcome the new, and that means leaving the routine behind as much as you can. This buffer time as you enter vacation is important. Some “thing” is forgotten; let’s just move on. I’ve discovered that I can make it without almost any certain thing—pills, creams, special outfits. With few exceptions, so can you.
- Relax. Is this even possible? Depending on your temperament and gifts, this is easier for some. And just plain tough for a lot of us. But the break in the surroundings, the activities and the pace provide a barrier that helps us gradually let go. Welcome it. When you come to that point in your time away, take advantage and sleep! Our scientific friends tell us we need more of this than we usually get. In creation, God rested on the seventh day, setting the pattern for creative renewal.
- Once you’ve settled into the changes, set aside at least some time to reflect. As we slip away from our normal life routines, it’s possible to see them from a distance and pray and review where we are and what we are becoming. This may be the most important part of our time away. Let everyone else go to the beach one day, and stay back for some thought-time. A friend told me recently that this was possible—even on a cruise. Everyone else went on the day trip, opening a window into the soul.
- Break out the books, savor the conversation, and notice your surroundings. This is where renewal begins to work its magic. Write in your journal. Read an entire book of the Bible. Smile. Laugh more. Let go of little irritations, and look for patterns in behavior, in the world around you and in your family. Every day has many moments of joy and with a renewal focus, you’ll notice them.
- Finally, as you arrive home, deliberately recapture the feelings and new perspective by taking a moment as the routine resumes to remind yourself of the time away. Shut your eyes and see the places you’ve been. Look over your journal. Spend time remembering and most of all—set up small action steps for any adjustments you resolved to make.
July—vacation time. July—renewal time. Let’s plan to make it so. Perhaps we’ll even want to cover our journal in red.
Jan began her media journey as a ten-year old with a neighborhood newspaper—and continued shadowing her love of words to work in radio. She spent time in South America working in international media and about twenty years with Focus on the Family first in creative for audio then in distributing media.
Her big reason for her work? Her life mission to help more people grow in Jesus. See more about Jan’s journey at: http://finneymedia.com/about/our-team/