He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. – Psalm 23:2–3 (NIV)
A pause button is standard on devices that play music, video, and games. Humans also come with one. Too bad I don’t use mine as often or as long as I should.
I observe a Sabbath, a time of rest. But the day is more than half over by the time we return home after church. Naps are nice on Sunday afternoons, but I feel guilty snoozing when the sun is shining, the weather is nice and a dozen small tasks are calling my name.
I used to nap every Sunday afternoon and felt better through the week for it. But lately . . . let’s just say I haven’t been pushing the pause button enough.
I don’t think God had simply a Sunday afternoon nap in mind when He set the example to rest (Genesis 2:2–3), established the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8–10), and declared a year of rest (Leviticus 25:4).
As you read this, Dean and I are on our way home from a two-week camping trip through the Finger Lakes region in New York and Acadia National Park in Maine.
As I write this, the trip is two days away, as I’m submitting my columns early so I can take a proper Sabbath rest.
The last time we took a vacation of this magnitude was in 2008, when we drove the motorhome to Florida for our son’s last year of playing baseball during spring break. Once he graduated and our baseball days were over, we parked the motorhome and got back to the countless projects we’d put on hold.
And the projects took over. Once in a while we’d take a Sunday afternoon drive to enjoy the western Pennsylvania scenery. We spent a night at our friends’ cabin near Cook Forest. We’ve had friends from Chicago visit for a week, our daughter and family for three weeks, and we’ve made trips to South Carolina to visit said daughter.
But none gave us the down time we needed and the time together to rest and recharge.
We planned this trip so that every stop is near a lake, waterfalls or the ocean. I’ve made and frozen meals so all we have to do is “heat and eat.” I’ve been downloading books on my Kindle and adding to my physical reading stack. Dean packed his fishing line and directions on how to tie various knots, as well as his elk hunting magazines. He’s looking forward to fresh lobster and shrimp. (I’ll have steak, thank you).
One thing not getting packed is the to-do list.
Life throws us out of balance, subtly, over time, or suddenly, with curve balls and other crises. We don’t just press the play button, we fast forward. And our bodies, minds and spirits show the results.
Go ahead: press the pause button.
Lord, I pray that You will be with us every mile, every minute of this trip. May this be a time of rest, relaxation, renewal of body, mind, and spirit. A time of refreshing. A time for leisure and fun and recreation. A break from the demands of the mundane, the endless tasks and work that clamor for our attention. May this be a time we draw closer to You and to each other. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Matthew 11:28–30; Mark 6:31