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David Hegg: Vacation to reflect

Posted: August 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Usually when we think about vacations it’s in anticipation of “getting away” from the things that normally occupy us. The whole idea is to escape, to “vacate” our ordinary lives in order to rest, relax, enjoy and just generally refuel. And what I often find is that these times of unscheduled hours and days offer a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with those values that make life satisfying.

In the delightful film “What About Bob?” a popular psychiatrist suggests that Bob “take a vacation from your problems.” Besides just being plain funny, the movie takes the audience to the intersection where vacation and the challenges of living in a fast-moving, emotionally challenging society meet. And while I put this movie in my top 10 all-time film experiences, I would have given Bob different advice. I think vacations are the perfect time to consider our lives — even our challenges — and re-examine just what we hold as the foundational commitments of our lives.

Vacations offer an excellent vantage point on the lives we live. It is as though we are able to get away, and perhaps stand above, the daily ins and outs of our ordinary existence. We become spectators on the way we are living, the decisions we are making and the results so far. And often this allows us time to contemplate if the direction we’re going and the attitudes we’re adopting are actually beneficial for us and our families.

Vacations also provide time for listening to other voices. In my case this most often means reading several books that I’ve just not had time to open during the year. It also means having time to really talk with my wife and intentionally reflect on how we’re dealing with the changes of life and the opportunities we’re facing. And on our best vacations it means spending time with good friends we don’t regularly get to enjoy because of geography. And of course, vacations always allow extended times of unhurried hours for private prayer and meditation on God’s word, the Bible.

I have found that the combination of loving relationships, fresh information, genuine reflection and ample time to enjoy them all, is a powerful engine for refreshment and renewal. It also happens to be a catalyst for creativity. And that’s why I would have encouraged Bob to lean into his vacation, as well as his problems, and see if the combination allowed for fresh insights and plausible solutions.

So my advice is to make the most of your vacation, no matter how short your time. Be intentional about using some of the time to read, think, reflect and reassess. If you do I think you’ll come back to your ordinary life believing that it is, in reality, extraordinary. After all, the best thing about vacation is realizing that the life to which you are returning is both exciting and satisfying.

David W. Hegg is senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita.


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