Friday, July 29, 2011

Back to Real Life After Vacation

Getting back from a glorious day at the beach to unload sandy towels and bathing suits into the washing machine and unpack the picnic basket can be a dismal wake up call to reality.  It reminds me of going back to work on Mondays after the weekend. A little voice inside me says, “If only the good life could continue.”

Last week God gave me an amazing gift vacation.  My daughter and I planned to visit a friend who was house sitting on the Southern Turkish coast. I had no idea beforehand that my friend’s place was a luxury apartment right on the beach, with lovely gardens, four swimming pools, and two water slides. I had a chance to reconnect with my daughter as we spent five relaxing days at the pool and on the beach.  More importantly, I had a chance to reconnect with God during the morning hours I spent on the balcony reading, journaling, and enjoying the view and the cool ocean breeze.

By Thursday I was beginning to dread returning home, and when I walked in the door on Friday night, I was struck by the reality of a hot apartment, dirty kitchen floor, and laundry. 

Returning home from vacation has me thinking about enjoying everyday, ordinary life.  When Jesus said he came to give us abundant life, what was he talking about?  Surely he meant more than taking an occasional vacation!  Surely he was talking about a rich and rewarding everyday life. I want to cultivate an attitude that recognizes the abundant life God gives me every day, not one that longs for a perpetual vacation.

Here’s what I’m trying to focus on as I contemplate starting home school again after a summer break:

  • Enjoy what you’re doing:

I used to look at work as something to get over with so I could finally do what I really enjoyed: spend time with friends, read a book, talk a walk.  A friend challenged me with a surprising statement: “I try to enjoy what I’m doing as I work.  Otherwise my life will go by with my wishing I was doing something else.” That simple statement changed the way I view everyday work. Now I pray almost daily that God will help me to enjoy the tasks and responsibilities in front of me.

  • Cultivate contentment:

We all have life circumstances that we wish were different: financial problems, struggles with a child, stress at work.  Getting away from these while we’re on vacation is healthy, but they can loom larger than ever after we return. I want to cultivate a healthy attitude of acceptance and contentment even though everything in my life is not perfect.  I want to focus on the positive.

  • Thankfulness:

Often I don’t appreciate everyday life because I’m blowing through in a hurry, not taking time to stop and notice the good things God gives me.  In an effort to make myself slow down and take notice, I continue with my 1000 Gifts List:

340. A cooler night and more sleep
341. My daughter’s excitement over the book “Heaven is for Real.”
342. Prayer in the morning with my husbands.
343. Homemade jelly from summer apricots.

 If I pay attention, I see that my life is full of God’s gracious gifts, evidences of His care and blessing over me.

These are my efforts to bring a relaxed vacation mentality into real life. How do you look at getting back to ordinary life after time off for R & R?

1 comment:

Linda said...

Your friend's words are so wise: “I try to enjoy what I’m doing as I work. Otherwise my life will go by with my wishing I was doing something else.” I thoroughly enjoy some of my chores, but others I silently grumble about and wish I could be doing something else. I pray God will help me to change my perspective. Thank you for challenging me to do so.