An old song form generations past sings out proudly: “V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N in the summer sun!” Sounds like exactly what most all of us would love to be doing – vacationing somewhere in the sun. Whether you’re a beach person or mountain person wouldn’t you just love to take a little getaway right now? I sure would.
Why is it when we get busy and stressed and overwhelmed with life, we just want to escape? Perhaps we feel like we can run away from the problems and hope they will all solve themselves. Or maybe we’re searching for something to fill that emptiness deep inside us. If we aren’t careful we waste the days of our lives by wishing them away in half-hearted living, doing the mundane and longing for the thrill of the getaway to somewhere exotic.
As I’ve read more Christian writers from decades past, I hear in their messages a challenge to make the mundane moments holy, to live every moment with purpose and passion, to seek God wholeheartedly amid the everyday. I struggle with this, but I have found a few things that help. Maybe they will help you too.
- Spend 20 minutes a day, alone, doing nothing but listening. Sounds impossible, right? The first day I tried this I knew my attention span was so short that there was no way I could do 20 minutes, so I set my timer for 5 minutes, and you know what? Even that was a struggle. To just sit quietly outside, no phone, no agenda, willing myself not to mull over my issues or To Do list, but to just listen to God’s world and, more importantly, for Him to speak into my heart. From that day I’m developing the habit of listening. And it’s a good thing. My blood pressure is bound to drop, because of the calm that comes to me. God is faithful during these times and stirs my heart with whispers of encouragement and hope.
- Fill the emptiness of your soul with scripture. Reading, listening to, writing, or memorizing bits and longer passages of God’s Word brings His peace to my heart. Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word “will not return to [Him] empty, but will accomplish what [He] desires and achieve the purpose for which [He] sent it.” Holy scripture has a power we cannot comprehend because it is God’s very words breathed out onto paper. We can rest in the fact that anytime we take in scripture it is doing something active in our lives to fill in the empty, broken places and accomplish God’s plans in us.
- Have conversations with God. Many of us feel uncomfortable with the “thees” and “thous” of old-timey prayers. Or we feel we don’t know how to pray. So we end up just worrying and not even attempting to pray. I am still learning to pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It’s a discipline of the mind to do it because we so easily jump out of prayer back into the what-ifs and worries of life. But 1 Peter 3:12 tells us “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” So how do we maintain a spirit of prayer throughout our day? K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Silly! Just talk. Talk like you are talking to your girlfriends. If you feel silly, tell Him so. Nothing is too big or too small. “Hey God, I was just thinking…”
- Live each moment with purpose. There are no spare moments in life. The ones we don’t use well are lost forever. How many moments have we wasted dwelling on something that never even happened? Wasted moments. How many thoughts do we waste on jealously, bitterness, or anger? Wasted moments. How many moments do we let slip by with our thoughts elsewhere, on a future or past issue, not truly living that moment in time? Wasted moments. I have made it a goal to live in the moment. If my grandson is prattling on about a video game I care nothing about, I try to look intently into his eyes and truly listen. I might not really understand, but he comes away from the moment feeling heard and cared for and loved. I purposefully set my mind to listen to others, to engage, to try to understand. And I set my heart to savor, celebrate, and get every last drop of life out of any moment, even the sad ones. Because to fully live life, we must fully embrace even the sadness, shock, grief or fear.
- Make joy where you are. Laugh. Sing. Dance. Play pranks on people. Drink in the sweet aromas around you. Buy the fresh flowers. See the sunset. Get up for the sunrise.
Let’s not seek escape from life. Let’s live it. We have a limited number of days on this earth. Why waste them waiting for a vacation?!