I’m sitting on the patio of an old beach house overlooking the sea in a tiny coastal village in Mexico you’ve probably never heard of.
The sun is bright, the sand is white, and the rhythm of waves meeting the shore is the only soundtrack I need while I write, and take an occasional break to watch the Mexican fishermen casting lines off the pier.
I needed this vacation.
Like most families, we keep a busy schedule. My wife and I both work. My daughter has school, friends, and dance classes. My son has preschool and sports practice. Plus, on top of all that, I’ve decided I didn’t have enough going on in my life, so I’m finishing a seminary degree in my spare time.
So when my unconventional in-laws packed up and moved to the beach in Mexico, we jumped at the chance to visit.
We’ve spotted wild dolphins, rode paddle boards, built sand castles, hiked Mayan pyramids, swung off rope swings into cenotes, and eaten too much delicious Mexican food.
But most importantly, we have disconnected from work and the internet to enjoy God’s creation and relaxation together as a family.
I’m not writing to brag, but because I want to encourage you to take advantage of your vacation time too.
It doesn’t need to be elaborate. If your budget is tight, you can still take time off. Just have a relaxing staycation or find someone in your church with a cabin you could borrow.
Please, don’t go into debt for a vacation (Proverbs 22:7). We planned our trip for a year, saved the cash to go, stuck to our budget, and were lucky to have a free place to stay.
The point is: I needed a vacation, and you need one too.
God Commands You to Rest
Rest is not a suggestion. It’s a command (Deuteronomy 5:12). God created the world in six days, and then even he rested.
God commands us to take a regular day off, and periodically take longer time off to celebrate and rest (for example, Deuteronomy 6:12-13).
We need it. Not only does rest give us the energy we need for sustainable hard work, but it also tests our faith.
Rest is both physical and spiritual.
When we take time off, we have to trust the God will take care of us. Everything will not collapse without us. The house, our work, and everything else will still be there when we get home. The Lord will provide.
Think about this: When we sleep, we are completely defenseless. We have to trust that God will watch over us while we shut our eyes.
Rest is God’s gift for your good (Psalm 127:2). A weekly day off and an occasional holiday are a sign of our faith that God is in control.
Vacations Give You Perspective.
When you take time off, you get to step out of your world and see things from a different perspective.
Whenever I travel, my worldview expands. I meet people from different walks of life and different cultures. I experience things that I would never experience at home.
Plus, I find that time off helps me to be more thankful. When we are stuck in the daily grind of work and home life, it is easy to grumble and complain. But when we get away for a while, we start to miss it.
After seeing some of the poverty in Mexico, my daughter and I had a great conversation about how she wants to stop complaining so much because we have far more than we need.
How many times have you been away and thought, “I can’t wait to go home and sleep in my own bed”?
If I take too much time off, I get stir crazy and cannot wait to get back to work with new ideas and a better perspective.
Vacations Can Deepen Your Relationships
Time away with family or friends creates memories that last a lifetime.
We collected our share of stories. We missed a flight, my wife accidentally sat on a baby crab, and I learned the, umm, cleansing effect of habanero salsa on my digestive system.
We laughed, learned, and did it all together. My relationship with my family deepened.
When else could you give your family multiple days of undivided attention?
Vacations are an excellent opportunity to unplug and focus on the people who matter most.
Vacations (Done Right) Recharge Our Batteries
Most people vacation wrong. They cram so much into one trip that they come home exhausted and needing a vacation after their vacation.
I’ve made that mistake far too many times.
So for our trip, we planned only a few activities over many days. The rest of the time, we swam at the beach, played games with the kids, and took afternoon naps.
I feel rested and ready to hit the ground running when I go home.
I need vacations, and so do you.
Take Jesus’ advice when he said to his disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).