Ezekiel 20:20 – Keep my Sabbaths holy, and they will be a sign between me and you. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”
Hello Friend –
After a little break, I’m happy to be back sharing a few thoughts about life, faith and how they connect. A little time away has made me grateful for so many things and today, I’ll share a bit about this.
Last week, we took some time away with our friends the Mickelson’s. I went to college with Dave and Barb. (Sidenote – it’s a little intimidating to realize that we are at the age where we have known each other way longer than we have not.) Barb and I were roommates during college and have so many fond memories from over the years. This is the same Barb that I ran a half-marathon with last fall. Their kids, Zach and Megan, are in college and preparing for their own futures. We are aware that vacations and time together maybe soon become more challenging.
Until right before we left, we contemplated if going on vacation right now was a smart choice. All six of us had taken steps to protect ourselves and others as much as we possibly can. We agreed to be smart, take precautions as we could and realize that being fluid while we were gone would be necessary. We could make plans that may or may not come to fruition because of COVID and we were not going to let it ruin our time away.
Priority #1 for a winter vacation? When you live in Wisconsin, it is getting someplace WARM! Sun and 70-degree weather is a must. And this, we accomplished. Some days were warmer and sunnier than others. We spent time in the water and outside, drinking in the warm rays without having to be bundled up. We played lots of cards, ate well, participated in entertainment that made us laugh and found interesting things to do. Barb and I exercised every day so we could have dessert every night. We sought out live music that filled our souls; something I realize I have missed these last two years.
During our evening meal together, we explored and shared personal thoughts. Our greatest fears. Pet peeves. The best time in our lives. Our dream vacation. What we want to be remembered for. Sometimes, these discussions took us on little conversation detours. They were conversations that allowed us to be vulnerable and bare more of ourselves in a safe place. Thanks to the other five for humoring me when I suggested each evening’s topic and embracing our conversations and sharing so freely.
Maybe most important? The time away felt like a true break. Sabbath from everyday life. Time to fill my heart and soul with nothing but laughter, reading a book and choosing what to eat off the dinner menu. I purposely chose not to connect to the internet while away. Our cell phone carrier changed our voice mailboxes while we were gone. Any phone messages that might have come in? Well, I have no record of them.
There have been very few vacations where I have completely disconnected from regular life. And this was one of them. When a question arose that no one knew the answer, I did not Google it. After a few days, Rick and I did turn on the TV to get a little news. And then, turned it back off. There was a freedom in living in a little bubble and not knowing everything that was happening. While initially I had thought of doing some planning for this year while on vacation, it did not take long for me to realize that the best choice for me would be to wait until I got home. Call it procrastination. Call it letting my soul fill with Sabbath. I call it a good choice for self-care.
We are bombarded with information all day long, if we choose so. We can find ourselves trying to sort through what is important and reliable and what is not. Sometimes, it’s OK to step back. Slow down. Enjoy the little things in life and know that laughter is truly more important than keeping up with things that may or may not be helpful and important.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the value and importance of being available and online and connecting with others. I get it. This is part of what I do. But there is also great value in stepping back from it all for a while. Finding joy in walking the beach even if it’s misty and a bit cool. Appreciating that we can spend time away when not everyone has this opportunity.
Honestly, I’m easing in after we got home. Yes, I’ve checked email and replied to those that needed a response. But I’m reflecting upon how much time I want to designate for things that may or may not be helpful or interesting. What really is important? Where do I want to spend time? Do I allow distractions to pull me away? What choices do I want to make?
I’m reflecting upon our nightly dinner questions and making sure that my answers reflect the daily choices that I make. I am discovering that less really can be more and overconsumption is not always best. When I say “Yes” to something, often, I am saying “No” to caring for myself and what I feel is most important.
Many Americans have lost the concept of Sabbath. Maybe, we spend an hour in worship each week. But even this has been challenged. When we do consume things, they may or may not be the best choices. Too often, I find myself choosing the easy and distracting things rather than what will honestly fill my heart or soul in a deeply meaningful way.
If I can encourage you in any way today, just allow yourself to slow down. Laugh more. Breathe deeper. Consume less. Consume things that will fill your heart and soul and not drain them. Mindfully choose those things that we are passionate about and pour into them. Take care of ourselves because they are God’s temple, and we are instructed to treat them like fine china.
Yes, I will take on too much. Yes, I will get overbooked. Yes, I will spend too much time on social media. But for now, I’m trying to embrace less. More careful choices. Sabbath time more regularly and not only when it is a special event.
It’s hard to distinguish God’s voice in our lives when there is so much competition. I pray we can choose a little less competition for God’s voice these days. Let’s see how our hearts and souls feel then.
For the opportunity to have great Sabbath time away, I am grateful.
Dear God – Thank you for the beautiful time away. How grateful I am that Hubby Rick and I can embrace opportunities like this. Thanks for keeping us all safe. Be with those who are struggling in any way right now. Help me embrace and seek Sabbath time in my life. May I discover ways to have little Sabbaths every day. Amen.
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