Sabbath? Sounds great.
Vacation? Who doesn’t know how to do that?
I had some repenting, soul-searching, and changes to make after taking vacation last summer.
If you’re wired like me then you already know where this is going. I wake up very early every day. I go nonstop until late night. I only need about 5 hours of sleep in order to feel good and then I’m out of bed and going again.
I’ve been this way my whole life.
Yet, as you get older, the bigger the tasks and challenges become. Please don’t hear this as a
"martyr story" or anything like that. Last year, I ran myself way too hard up to vacation and literally exhausted myself and according to my doctors, gave myself a pretty severe panic attack that resulted in me using a few sick days before vacation started. Not good. At all. I found out that I’m not the hero after all. I’m actually pretty normal like everyone else.
I’m learning how to slow down and not speed up.
I’m learning how to take a nap and not keep pushing.
And because I’m a pastor I had some things to own.
I am not the savior of the church.
I don’t have to die for the church.
I don’t have to run the church.
I’ve been treating life like a sprint rather than a marathon. I want to live a long life and that means resting well matters.
Lesson #1 - Start throttling back on and handing off certain responsibilities before the vacation starts rather than my last day.
Lesson #2 - If it is going to be just a family day at the pool then keep it that way. I realized that it isn’t selfish for me to guard our just-us-family-time.
Lesson #3 - Beware of the “last-minute-drop-ins.” Jana and I simply LOVE being with people. But I realized that there were certain drop-ins that wouldn’t mean to bring “work” to my downtime but inevitably, it happens.
Lesson #4 - Email/phone begone! I realized that I don’t need to have my phone on me all the time. If there’s a crisis people can get to me through Jana if it is something really important. I enjoy social media as much as anyone else does. But I need a break from all that as well.
Lesson #5 - Worship at another church. This one’s tough. I tried to worship at Living Stones but because I’m a pastor there, I just couldn’t disconnect. I would see people that need to be talked with, things to be addressed, staff to run things by and so on. Of course, that caused me to reengage and go home thinking about the mountain of stuff to get to when I’d get back.
Lesson #6 - Don’t have anything major to do upon return. Last year, I came back to day one launching the Acts 29 West Academy. That means that I had to be doing emails and phone calls for two days before actually being “back on the clock.” Hmmmm.
Lesson #7 - I really enjoyed reading some theological books and fictional books that I normally don’t have time for. I think I’ll reread the C.S. Lewis Sci-Fi Trilogy for the third time this summer. Such brilliant escape reading!
Lesson #8 - I took time with Jana to look at my calendar and we’ve got everything dialed in regarding traveling, seminary, and a few other things through the year. Knowing what’s coming when helps me not live in a constant “reactionary mode.” This was good for me.
Lesson #9 - Don’t vacation from exercise. I loved staying physically active and even getting into some hiking.
Lesson #10 - Do my hobby. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking. A lot. I love to wind down in the kitchen. So, naturally that’s where I spent a ton of time and the whole family appreciated that.
What do you think? How do you vacation? What have you learned along the way?