Mark Alan Williams
4 Reasons To Vacation Now Or Be Sorry Later
Updated: Mar 26, 2019
Treat yourself and your family to something really important.
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As this article is being published, Carolyn and I are on vacation (or a holiday in some cultures). Since our boys are grown up, we now vacation as a couple. But when the boys were younger, we vacationed with them. We’re big believers in vacations and in fact, I believe that those who don’t vacation will regret it later.
No, this isn’t me, but I wish it was! Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash
Recently an acquaintance who is the same age as me, said he was retired for 4 years so far. He said, “You’re retired also aren’t you?” Actually, I’m far from retired. In fact, I don’t really want to retire from serving the Lord until I cannot do so any longer. But I definitely do want to keep taking vacations.
And I believe that if we hadn’t taken vacations over the years, Carolyn and I would regret it.
Occasionally I meet people who don’t take vacations, either because they can’t, or more likely they won’t.
Here are 4 reasons to vacation now or be sorry later:
1. We all Need to Rest.
In the Bible, God made it clear that rest is important—so important that He commanded a weekly Sabbath rest. One day out of seven is to be set aside to “vacation.” It is one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).
The same principle is imbedded into the idea of a vacation. Although not commanded in Scripture, vacations are more extended times of rest. This is important because we are not designed to be “on” for 24/7 365 days a year.
The example of rest was so important to God that on the 7th day of creation He rested. Think of it: Did God NEED to rest? No, He was God Almighty. He didn’t need to rest but He rested to set the example for us.
“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:2-3 ESV)
2. Special Family Times.
The second reason to vacation is that they can be some of the most special family times you ever have.
Think of it: In many situations, kids are at school all day, parents are at work or other pursuits, and in reality, family interaction can be minimal under normal circumstances.
But when you vacation together, there is extended family time: time to create memories, time to enjoy each other, time to be a family.
Many of the most special memories we have as a family came during vacations. Trips to Colorado to be with Carolyn’s sister Gwen—our last one was about 6 months before she died of cancer. I recall with great fondness trips to family reunions every other year with my 2 brothers, 2 sisters and their families.
Camping trips can be inexpensive and create some of the most lasting memories. I used to take our boys to the desert to camp and ride our dirt bike motorcycles. What memories: feeding a desert kangaroo rat, eating “gourmet” hot dogs and beans over our campfire, motorcycles breaking down, our trailer wheel coming off and bounding into the ditch.
Of course, I’m not promising that on vacation, everything will go swimmingly, and everyone will get along perfectly. But even those challenges are part of the togetherness and memory-making.
3. Fresh Perspective.
It’s amazing how much fresh perspective can be gained by getting away. When we get out of the weeds, we begin to see the flowers. We see things differently, especially if the vacation is relaxing and restful. What was discouraging isn’t so bad anymore.
I remember years ago one of the members of my church telling me she noticed that the sermons I gave after a vacation were better than normal. I’m sure she was right and that the reason is because I was refreshed!
This is part of the reason I strongly recommend personal prayer retreats. Too often we can’t see the forest because of the trees. But when we get outside our routine, we see the bigger picture and our perspective freshens.
To take advantage of this time of fresh perspective, I often write down “vacation reflections.” Then I can remember them later when I get home and back in the weeds.
These “vacation reflections” are often along the lines that things are going better than I felt when I left for vacation, that God is blessing more than I had realized and I have much to be thankful for.
Of course, I could come up with these reflections without being on vacation, but the problem is that I’m stuck in the day-to-day grind and it’s hard to see things differently.
The fourth and final benefit of a vacation is the learning. When we go away, we usually learn a lot about the places we’re going, about different ways people do things in other locations, about our family and about ourselves.
The most memorable vacation in the family I grew up in happened when I was 14 years old. Our family of 7 camped in a tent (a fairly large one) on our trip to Florida. Then we stayed in a nice hotel for a few days during my father’s business convention. Next, we camped in the Florida Keys. Then we camped along the Gulf of Mexico as we made our way to Mexico. Then we stayed with missionary friends in Poza Rica, Mexico several fascinating days before camping our way home.
Wow, what memories! And that’s just one of our family forays. Other times we visited grandparents in Michigan and Pennsylvania, aunts and uncles, and so on.
In each of these situations, new “worlds” were opened to us. We learned about family, geography, culture, camping and so on.
IN CONCLUSION: If you don’t take vacations, I think you will regret it later. Take a vacation soon!
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