Vacation Time is Not a Vacation from God

stewardship of family Jul 23, 2023
Big family, travel and children

Deuteronomy 6:7 - “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road.”


 

Introduction

We are a family that does a good amount of traveling. Going on vacation means that for the most part, we have a break from our regular schedules and responsibilities. We recognize that these opportunities are first and foremost, a blessing from the Lord. No matter the length of time, we strive to have thankful hearts and a Christ-centered perspective when we have the chance to break away from our everyday schedule together.

 

Thankfulness First

We have had the privilege to travel to various parts of the world with our children, and the uniqueness of our personal situation is not lost on us. Many people never have the opportunity to leave their own culture or even their own villages due to poverty and/or a lack of reliable transportation. With this in mind, it is very important to our family that we are good stewards of this gift of travel. It is not something we deserve, but a blessing.

Keeping a heart of thankfulness as you travel with your children can change the way you relate to each other and others. God can use such situations to bless your family, people you encounter on your trips, and friends and family who get to hear about where you went. They may not have had the chance to go with you, but they can “live through” your experiences when you share with them. They may even be inspired to go on their own adventure!

 

Praying as a Practice: Before, During, and After

Prayer is a very important part of our family travels. Before we leave to go anywhere, we pray that God would bless our journey and thank Him for the opportunity He has given us. We also pray daily during the trip. First, we have our usual devotional time, but we also ask that God will bless our time together and use us to point others to Himself. Even though it is “our trip,” we recognize that ultimately, our time belongs to the Lord and He will bring people into our lives while we are on vacation to glorify Himself through our words and actions. When we arrive home, we thank God for the time we’ve had and ask Him to help us use the experience to bless others.

 

Spiritual Routines

Whether we’re at home or on the road, we start each day with God’s Word. It is built into our routine, just like eating breakfast and brushing our teeth: a non-negotiable. When we’re traveling, we often start the day with a video devotional, sing a hymn, and pray together. In the evenings before bed, we do something similar, often adding in a Bible story. Praying before meals together, even when we are out to eat at a restaurant, is also a regular part of our traveling routine. And if we happen to be gone over a weekend, we watch a Time of Grace video devotional together and try to attend a good church in the area as a family.

 

Letting Your Light Shine

We recognize that people are watching and observing our family even when we’re on vacation, so we make an effort to use words and actions that are reflective of our Christian faith. We love the verse Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” We keep this in mind even as we dress, often wearing Christian clothing from one of our favorite websites found here: No Shame Marketing. We keep our eyes open for ways to have Christ-centered conversations with people we meet and look for chances to bless others financially in the name of Christ as well.

 

When Challenges Arise

Hiccups while traveling are bound to happen every once in a while. When things don’t go as planned, we have been able to use these situations as learning opportunities. We regularly have conversations with our kids about how to exhibit Christian values when we find ourselves in unexpected and challenging situations.

It’s difficult, but the most important thing is to avoid the temptation to get upset and yell. Instead, take a moment and pray. Make the effort to orient yourself and model an appropriate Christian response. This will be noticed by your children first, and also anyone around you. If you are in close proximity to other people who are exhibiting inappropriate behavior, use it as a touchstone to teach your kids how not to act in a difficult situation. This is not unkind, but an excellent way to show children the differences between the world and those who follow Christ.

We have had some unexpected challenges come our way during our years of family travel, and what we have come to know is this: God is perfectly in control. When we went to Peru, we missed our flight and had to spend hours at the Denver airport with four small children in tow. When we traveled to Hawaii, our plane was delayed for eight hours. Some of the passengers were angry enough to yell and complain, and we used that opportunity to teach our children about inappropriate reactions. In both cases, we made it to our destinations eventually, and our children were able to watch how their parents reacted to big changes with good attitudes and patience.

 

Conclusion

Traveling is a blessing, and it is certainly not wrong to look forward to and enjoy vacations. At the same time, it is vital that we recognize our ability to get away as a blessing from the Lord and not something that we inherently deserve. Like all blessings, we want to steward the gift of travel with grateful hearts and a humble perspective. Ultimately, we desire to use our vacations as a chance to glorify God by enjoying each other and also pointing others to Christ.

 

Key Points

  • Vacations and experiences are gifts from God.
  • Spiritual routines should continue while on vacation.
  • Take time to pray for and about the vacation – before, during, and after.
  • Always be looking for ways to let your light shine and point others to Jesus during these experiences that are - first and foremost - blessings from His hand.

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