I recently returned to work after an extended vacation and it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. But it wasn’t what I did that made it great—it was what I didn’t do.
Too often, we go on vacations and come back more exhausted than when we left. Instead of “vacating” our busy lives for some rest and relaxation, we simply trade our normal chaos for some slightly different chaos.
I’ve done it more than once. You probably have, too. Frankly, that’s how many people in our world do the vacation thing.
But I didn’t do that this time around. I didn’t make a “to-do” list or plan out every minute of my time off. I didn’t try to squeeze 51 activities into 21 days. To be honest, I didn’t do a whole lot. And best of all?
I didn’t come back from vacation in need of a vacation!
The way I see it, a restful vacation is a great vacation. You can still do stuff—heck, I went parasailing in Florida (that’s my daughters and me in the picture above). You just don’t have to go ninety-to-nothing the entire time.
4 Reasons to Take a Vacation
Life is busy and stressful and you need some time to relax and decompress. But simply going on a trip isn’t the answer. You need a vacation from the chaos.
Let me offer you 4 reasons why you should get some good, old-fashioned “R and R” on a regular basis.
1. It Refreshes Your Soul
It’s pretty amazing how quickly life can stress you out. People are constantly clamoring for your attention. They’re making demands on your time. It’s all pretty draining.
If you don’t refill what’s being drained away, you’ll eventually hit the wall. And the only way to avoid that scenario is to take a break.
Psalm 23 tells us how God refills our empty tanks,
“He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”
Your soul transcends your physical body. It’s the immaterial essence of who you are—and it requires some regular down time with its Creator.
2. It Recharges Your Energy
A great vacation always leaves me feeling energized. Not only does my body feel more relaxed and rejuvenated, so does my mind and my heart.
When you’re slaving away in the salt mines, you’re using up more energy than you often realize. You’re keeping your head down and your nose to the grindstone.
And suddenly you wake up to the fact that you’re out of juice. Dang it!
Sure, a quick-charge overnight will help, but only a true vacation—an extended period of rest—can recharge you to full capacity.
3. It Releases Your Creativity
It’s funny how creativity works. It can’t be forced. It can’t be controlled or manipulated. As counter-intuitive as it might sound, you don’t “create” creativity as much as you discover it.
When you’re relaxed and your mind is truly unoccupied, creativity has a way of just showing up. That’s why great ideas often come in the shower—or in a chair at the beach.
(Think you’re not creative? Check out this TED Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. Great stuff!
4. It Restores Your Perspective
A little pressure can bring out the best in you, but a lot of pressure can squish you like a bug.
When you’re tired and stressed, you’re not at your best. You’re incapable of seeing things clearly and making top-notch decisions.
When I left for vacation a few weeks ago, there were some pretty big questions swimming around in my brain. But the day-to-day weight of my responsibilities was keeping me from seeing them clearly—let alone finding the right answers!
But now that I’ve gotten some quality chill time, those questions and answers have become very clear to me. My perspective has been restored. I’m able to see things as they truly are.
And my decisions will be much better as a result.
Great vacations aren’t built on the money you spend. They’re built on the time you spend relaxing with God and the people you love.
If you have a busy and demanding life—and I’m sure you do—you may be tempted to cut back on the vacation time. But that would be a mistake.
Go ahead and take that vacation. Get some “sabbath rest.” It’s an investment you can’t afford to pass up.