The Stay-cation

The Stay-cation

What did you do last weekend?  If you’re like me, your weekend plans were altered somewhat by the rain that we experienced.

My family had originally planned to take advantage of the three-day weekend by taking a little trip to the coast with my parents.  We love to go to Port Aransas, and so my dad had booked a condo on the beach and we all planned to enjoy a weekend of relaxation and family time overlooking the water.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

With the rain forecasts rolling in at the end of last week, we decided to forego our planned vacation and enjoy a “stay-cation” instead – just hanging out and enjoying time together as a family.  And – it was wonderful.

Our family, like most families I know, is very busy.  Lora and I both work hectic hours and have lots of commitments outside the home, so the actual time we get to spend with all of us together – Lora, Caroline, Mitchell, and I – is much less than we would like.  We rarely get to just sit and enjoy being together as a family for whole days at a time – we almost always have something we have to do or somewhere we have to be.  This weekend, though, we got to spend three uninterrupted days together as a family.

My daughter, Caroline, has a term for days like that: “home days.”  These are her favorite days!  She loves it when we get to spend the whole day together with no agenda, no coming and going, no important commitments pulling us apart.  Our “stay-cation” reminded me of just how important “home days” are.

I have a feeling that this will resonate with lots of folks, because I think it’s a truism of our modern world that we are chronically over-busy.  We live in a culture that demands lots of time from us – work, community events, social functions, church, and a whole host of other important commitments fill up our calendars very quickly, leaving very little time for us to enjoy our families and get some much-needed rest.

Even when we have some “down time,” most of us don’t really rest.  I’m always haunted by the idea that there’s something else I should be doing.  Shouldn’t I be working?  Drumming up leads for my real estate business?  Planning ahead for the choir’s Christmas presentation?  Isn’t there some fence to be fixed or cattle to be worked?

Does that sound like you?  I would imagine that it does, at least for a lot of us.

The difficult thing is, it all seems so important.  For most of us, we fill our calendars with things that are truly worthwhile.  How can we afford to rest when there is so much important work to be done?

But, here’s what I was reminded of during our “stay-cation” – God didn’t intend for us to be busy all the time.  He built us to function at our best when our periods of work are interrupted with periods of rest.

There are many, many verses in Scripture having to do with the concept of rest, but I am reminded of the passage in Mark’s Gospel recounting Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand.

When you think of this story, you most likely remember the part where Jesus fed a huge crowd with only five loaves of bread and two fish.  That’s the famous part of the story – but do you remember what Jesus did first?

At the beginning of chapter 6, Jesus had commissioned the disciples to go out on their own to spread His message.  Later, when they returned to Him, they were apparently exhausted from the work that they had been doing.  Here is what Mark writes (vv. 30-32):

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle, Jesus recognized the importance of His disciples having time to rest.  They had just finished a period of hard work, preaching and teaching to many people.  Their work wasn’t done yet – in verse 33, we see that the disciples returned to the crowd, and shortly thereafter Jesus performs one of the most famous miracles of the New Testament.  But, before they would experience the miracle, the disciples first needed to experience a quiet moment with Jesus.

The reminder, to me, is clear: Although our work is never truly done, God’s desire is not for us to burn ourselves out.  When our lives are so busy and there seems to be no end in sight, we should remember what Jesus said to the disciples in verse 31: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So, I’m happy with the way our little “stay-cation” turned out.  It wasn’t what we had planned, but we got to rest together as a family and enjoy the blessings that God had prepared for us during our long weekend.

So, what did we do?  Not much.  We mostly hung out at the house, playing with the kiddos and relaxing.  We ventured out twice: once to go to church*, and the other to go to the Austin Aquarium.

Most of all, we enjoyed the blessing of time together.  I’m thankful for a wonderful wife and two amazing kids, and I’m thankful that I got to enjoy them for a few days.

*I’m also thankful for James Strickland, who filled in for me on Sunday during my absence.  He always does a great job and it’s a huge blessing to have him in our church.  Thanks, also, to Ron for singing the Special Music, and to Janis and Mae Lynn for their excellent work every week on the piano and keyboard.  It’s great to know that the music is in good hands when I’m not here.

IMG_1056Caroline and I at the Austin Aquarium