Friends – relaxation – refreshment — vacation! What a joy – and what an absolutely needed part of our routine for healthy, productive living! This past week, we were blessed to be able to expereince a short – and much-needed vacation. We went to a favorite location in Tucson, Arizona with some good friends and had a wonderful time.
On our trip, we mostly relaxed and did things that had no particular value except in that they allowed us to ‘vacate our normal lives’ in favor of some things that we did just for the fun of it. We toured Tombstone – an old-west, historically rich time travel to a day when justice was swift and sometimes not completely just. It was a simpler time of dealing with life in the moment – again, not always the best solution, but always swift and often final.
We had time to just sit around a pool and have fellowship and fun, sharing good times just relaxing together. And, of course, we ate some great food together and tried new adventures. It was a short and wonderfully enjoyable time. It was certainly ‘quality over quantity’ time spent.
I was also excited to find a book by Jay Payleitner, titled “What if God Wrote Your To-Do List? … 52 ways to make the most of every day” It is a sequel to his previous book, titled, “What if God Wrote Your Bucket List?” When I saw this book – actually both books on the book shelf – I was fascinated and intrigued. I bought them and immediately began reading.
Payleitner starts with what seemed to be rudimentary, mundane items on a to-do list. Things like chaper 1: “Make Your Bed” — So, who doesn’t make their bed? Well, as it turns out, many of us. It reminded me of some of those I have counseled who have shared that they don’t make their beds in the morning. My observation has been that when lfe seems to be spiraling out of control, making one’s bed – as simple as it may seem – can provide a significant sense of peace and control. Those two things can mean a lot when life can seem so unpeaceful, harsh and out-of-control. Payleitner makes the same point! As a matter of fact, he makes many helpful and wise points. He said, “You were designed, created and placed on this earth for so much more. What you really want to do is stuff that leads to greatness. That is what you’ll find on God’s to-do list for your very near future. . . We can get so wrapped up in the grind of daily life that we forget life is a gift to be unwrapped each and every day.”
As Paul wrote in Ephesians, chapter 5:15-17, “Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
I believe that finding balance, peace, joy and love in this life is all part of what God has planned for us. The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are a perfect time for beginning that quest for one’s life, in spite of the disruption of routine that summer can serve to create angst for some of us.
Life can be – and often is – a grind of schedules, appointments, deadlines and obligations. Even for those of us who are working in our passion and in fulfilling roles, we can sometimes lose sight of the blessings that are right before us. That is why slowing down, stepping out of the rigor of our normal patterns of life can be so refreshing – and a perfect time to re-connect with good friends, especially the Good Friend we have in Jesus Christ.
I once had a spiritual mentor who, out of the blue, told me to “Get out of the fast lane. God’s not in it, so you shouldn’t be either. You are sometimes so destination-focused that you are missing the blessings that are all around you in the present.” . . .And you know what? He was right! As soon as I literally got out of the fast lane of the freeways I drove everyday, I noticed that those big machines that, at one time, were only impediments to me getting to my destination, actually had people in those machines (cars), all trying to do exactly what I was trying to do – have a productive day!
Our God is with us wherever we go. Our challenge is to slow down enough to notice and have a meaningful encounter Him along the way. Now it’s your turn to let Him write your ‘to-do list’- and be blessed!
In His love and to His glory,