If there’s one thing that goes out the window during vacations, it’s routine. Close on its heels would be any pretence at calorie control. (Having recently emerged from a love affair with BBQ ribs on a trip to Texas, I have personally vetted this claim. But that’s a topic for a different article, if I can get the smoky-sweet taste of charred goodness out of my mind for a whole minute.)
Hold on. Where were we?
Backtracking from BBQ ribs, we were, talking about routine. Rhythms. Habits.
When routines get dislodged during vacations, chances are your quiet time with God slips under the pile of wet swimsuits, damp towels, and perfect selfie spots. Let’s be honest here – vacations often end up becoming vacations from God too. Along with that sun-kissed glow and too much gelato, you get a side order of soul tiredness and copious guilt from missing your time alone with God.
Having a regular quiet time poses a challenge. Having a regular quiet time on vacation presents an almost-impossibility.
I don’t know if there’s a three-step program for vacations that are God-centered and worshipful. Sure, there are some logical things we can do, like packing a Bible for the trip or scheduling prayer time before we’re buried under an avalanche of tourist brochures.
But let’s tackle first things first. God is not interested in your guilt. He is not a cosmic spoilsport who wants to hijack your holiday. He doesn’t want you to carry that backpack of shame, as you trek up that majestic mountain.
He actually, without-a-doubt, one hundred percent wants us to enjoy His blessings. He opens His hand and satisfies us with good things. Vacations are designed to take a moment to slow and to savour those good things.
I’m likely walking a controversial tightrope here, but maybe vacations are meant to break routine with God. Have we considered that vacations can reinvent and reinvigorate our quiet times?
Maybe connecting with God looks like a walk on the beach with the ocean spray on your face like droplets of grace.
Maybe it looks like your heart doing little pirouettes of gratitude for the orange-fuchsia sunsets He paints or for the lake that sparkles like a necklace of a thousand diamonds.
Maybe it's about craning your neck to see the tops of 100-year-old Evergreens and praising the God who clothes nature with stunning regality.
Maybe it’s simply a heartfelt thank you for the best fajitas you ever tasted.
No, I'm not advocating that we shelve Scripture or push pause on prayer. But vacations give us moments where we find Scripture to be undeniably true in the world around us. They can be a time of uncovering another facet of God’s character. They give us the chance to say with utter disbelief, “Only You, God. Only You.”
Routine is important. Sacred habits are a lifeline for the soul. But maybe disrupting those rhythms are God prompts for refreshment and renewal, for breathing in God beauty and breathing out thanks.