Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 7.31.13 – The Joy and Struggle of Family Vacation

As I returned home from vacation, several people asked: did you get a lot of rest on vacation?

My standard, and true, answer: “Yes and no.”

There is an element to vacationing with three children (along with four children which belong to your brother-in-law and sister-in-law) that is work.  Kids need to be watched – especially young kids with strong wills and difficulty communicating. Even as fun as riding waves in the ocean is, my mind inevitably wandered to the safety of the kids.

It truly is the joy and struggle of vacation. The joy of time away from the burden of daily work; the struggle of shifting responsibilities.

This is not a bad thing, nor does it exclude the possibility of rest. But it is a reality nonetheless.  So, what is a good approach to family vacation for the believer?

Here are four things I’ll use to challenge your thinking:

1. Is there intentional time to focus on God?

There are many ways to create intentional focus on God on a vacation.  Worship music on a long car ride, visiting a church, praising God for the resources He provided for the vacation – each of these can help focus the time away instead of checking out of everything, faith included.

2. Is there focus on others?

For me, on vacation I am not pastor.  I am dad and husband.  I try to do extra things to ease the burden on Julie. I try to get extra time with the kids.  I try to make the most of the time away from the responsibilities and demands of daily life.

3. Do you praise God?

For me, I praise God and enjoy the things He provides.  Special treats, extra cans of pop, good dinners, a little ice cream: you get the drift. I praise God in the ability to enjoy some of the things He provides that I usually don’t have the time or means to enjoy.

4. Do you see family as a legacy or a burden?

I admit that I am not a pro with young children. It’s not a natural gift of mine.  But I want our kids to remember me as a dad who loved them and did his best to be there with them.  I want them to know that I was intentional to serve my wife.  What am I going to do, whine on vacation when I don’t get my way about what I want to do?

Part of family vacation is a reflection of family itself: at times you just don’t get to do what you want to do. But that’s life, and it’s a legacy I want to leave.  I am not afraid to teach anyone that even in rest, I should be a servant. There is no other way to reflect Jesus.

Think: Do you have a tendency to be selfish on vacation? Is God at the center of the times you set aside for refreshing?

Act: How can you maximize the times (short or long) you have with your loved ones when you’re away from your normal environment?


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