Gratitude Day 653
Mark 2:27 – Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for the sake of people, and not people for the Sabbath.
Hubby Rick and I have been on a little trip the last week or so. While these trips are most often called “vacations” in our modern culture, another world that could be used is Sabbath.
So, what’s the difference between a Sabbath and a vacation? Ask 10 different people and you’ll get 10 different answers. Or at least 10 different and confused looks. What I mean by this is it is different for everyone.
Generally, most of us would call time away a vacation. But it can also be Sabbath; time to refresh your soul and contemplate you and your walk with God. It’s a different rhythm from everyday life and gives us the opportunity to look at life from a slightly different perspective.
Most people think of Sabbath as resting one day a week. Or at least taking some time “off.” Personally, I think of Sabbath as much more than this. For me, Sabbath involves time with God and reflection with God. In normal, everyday life, we often keep it too full, filled and loud to hear God speak to us. Yes, we can. But Sabbath allows for space to listen. Hear. Communicate with God.
Does this mean Sabbath requires life-changing new choices? Absolutely not. It’s more of a shift in how we think about our time for a period of time and how we interact with God.
So, what makes for a good vacation and/or Sabbath? Today, I’m sharing a few thoughts about what I think helps me find space to restore my soul and seek God.
- Get out in nature.
For many, I think being in nature allows us to see what the Creator has done for us. Now some people appreciate different kinds of creation than others. For example, some people are mountain people. Others are beach people. Hubby Rick is definitely a beach person. But being in the mountains has been a wonderful way to connect with God. We’ve spent time in Estes Park and the Rocky National Park.
We’ve seen wildlife and animals that are different from what we normally see in Wisconsin.
One day, we took a hike along the South Platte River. We just walked and talked. And appreciated the creation around us.
Driving through the Iowa cornfields and then into Nebraska where we continued to see cornfields for as far as the eye could see. In eastern Colorado, we saw crops growing on one side of the field and rolling hills on the other. We drove through a canyon to Estes Park and a switchback filled trail in Rocky Mountain Park. Every time Rick and I see this breath-taking scenery that is so different from what we are used to, we question how creation would happen without a creator.
- Time with Special Family and Friends
The main reason for heading west this summer was so we could visit my Aunt Beverly who will be turning 91 next week. Yesterday, my two cousins and I spent several hours with her, having lunch, looking at photos and playing cards. Several times, she mentioned how wonderful it was to have her nieces with her. It’s been years since the nieces have seen Beverly. Now all safely vaccinated, we could. And it’s been wonderful.
Hubby Rick and I have spent time with friends along our route. After a year of limited interactions, it’s wonderful to have a meal together. Play cards. Visit and enjoy just hanging out. We’ve done all of this and more in the last week.
- Time with God.
Hubby Rick and I begin the days with a devotion and prayer, most often in the car. At various times throughout the day, we pause and give thanks. Remember we are blessed.
I have also spent my own time with God. Somedays it is more than others. And this is OK. Am I solving the worlds or my own challenges during this time away? No. But I am intentionally finding space to be with God. And this is something that I continue to need.
- Be kind to yourself.
One thing Hubby Rick and I have learned while traveling? Keep our expectations low. Rather than over anticipate what we’d like to have happen, we prefer to be pleasantly surprised when things turn out much different than you expected.
We allow for space and spontaneity and fun. Planning every minute of every day takes too much time and removes the opportunity for unexpected surprises. We try to be realistic about what we want to accomplish in a day and not take too much on.
Being kind allows for us to stop at a 4th of July parade that we see happening while driving near the town. Being kind allowed for Rick and to do something different on Friday than I did. Being kind says that our plans can and will change … and we’ll be simply fine with this.
Have I spent too much time staring at a computer screen this past week? Yes. And Hubby Rick would agree. It’s hard for me to completely shut off and so sometimes, I end up doing little work-related and/or personal things now. But Friday night, I closed my laptop and went outside and sat with my cousins for a wonderful evening. It was a way that I could be kind to myself.
What works for you as you think about Sabbath time and time away? I don’t expect your responses to be the same as mine. Yet, I also think it’s helpful for us to at least think about what gives our hearts and souls a break when we take time off and away.
We often think that Sabbath and a vacation have to be some big time commitment. And it doesn’t. Sometimes, it’s a few hours. A Day. Other times, it is a longer chunk of time. Either way, it’s less about the amount of time and more about how we think about the time we set aside to refresh our souls and minds.
Thanks for traveling along with our little Sabbath/time away. I hope a bit of our experiences will encourage you to think about Sabbath and how you build time away into your life.
For time to refresh my heart and soul, I am grateful.
Dear God – As Jesus reminded us, the Sabbath was made for people and not the people for the Sabbath. May we find regular ways to refresh our hearts and souls and to connect with You, O God. Amen.
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