Vacation is not easy, at least the planning part.
Actually, what I am going for is more than just vacation, it is an extended vacation, or, more like a sabbatical. Two months.
First there is the question of location. Where should I go? Usually in down-time, I really look forward to and need solitude time. I savour lots of time alone, reading and journalling. Yet it is also a blessing to be with people, and perhaps unhealthy to be too solo for too long. This time I thought of a few old, good and faithful friends in the next province that I can pop in on. They are the kind of people with whom I can just be me. They will love me as I am, and yet not let me stay that way. In the end, I will only visit one.
After that, I am so thankful to have a one-month booking at a retreat place on a beach by the ocean--a place specifically set up to offer low-cost accomodation for those working in the area who need vacation and/or soul-refreshment. Meals are included in the price. That is convenient. Perhaps there will be a sense of 'family time' at meals, but then lots of opportunity for quiet and rest. I'm longing to be in a quiet setting where I can drink in the beauty of God's creation--ocean...that fits the bill.
Of course the purpose is what led to the choosing of locations, but now that all bookings have been made, I am thinking about if and how I will achieve the purpose. Mark Batterson's thoughts from his post resonate with me: "Ultimately, I want to do more than unplug for a month. I need to reprioritize and reinvent how I'm doing life and ministry. I need to make a few tweaks that will help me maintain my sanity and sanctification! Praying for revelation!" I need to get away, rest, not be so distracted, but I really need to hear from God.
I am down to about 1 week from when I leave. There is still much to do here--work, making sure staff are all set up well to take care of their responsbilities and get vacation while I'm gone. And I need to pack.
Yet am also thinking about my going, and what preparation might be needed. Of course I think about which books to take. Yes, BOOKS are often the most important part of my vacations!! Books--the ideas, the learning, the thoughts triggered. Books, and then pondering, in God's presence.
I am also thinking about how my heart should be prepared...which questions should I be asking, or, which questions has God been asking of me? It seems there are a lot of things laying under the surface--a tangled web of uncertainties, root issues behind my lack of love and patience--what might the Lord want to do with these? And this one area that has been so painful this past year? What do I do with it? Why the pain? Is this a leading into a new focus and direction? But it is so big, and I am so small. All these I will bring before Him, and let Him be Lord. Maybe I don't need to "prepare" my heart, other than to just listen.
Honestly, sometimes I'm a little afraid of the quiet and solitude coming. I wonder what might be revealed, and how painful it might be. But it will be good. I need to see, I need to be changed. However painful it might be, it is more painful to stay the same.
Ah, I am looking forward to this time away. So needed. I am looking forward to a better me coming back.
Thank You Lord, for times of rest and refreshing. And...please help me to keep pressing on this week...I find myself already checking out, heading for vacation...