It's summer time, even if the Thompson weather doesn't seem to have gotten the message. And taking a summer vacation is charity to your family and co-workers. It's not just a time for you to relax, unwind and find your smile again. After a year of the stress of living and working to a time schedule, not to mention the stress involved in your particular work situation, your fuse is shortened, patience stretched, and your positive attitude eroded in your dealings with others. So by being good to yourself with a relaxing holiday, you are really being good to those whose lives touch yours.
Does this mean that all normal functions go out the window while you enjoy a total change of pace? Not really! You don't stop breathing, eating, living or loving while you are on holidays, and you definitely shouldn't stop your God-related activities such as prayer, church and fellowship.
When you are away from home, do you go out of your way to find a place of worship on the Sabbath? Holidays may be just the breathing space you need to form a closer companionship with God, especially if you are almost a stranger to him. Let yourself be awed by who he is, how much he cares for you and how he is always with you even though you may ignore him. Set aside a certain time every day just for you and your God.
I would like to share a story sent to me:
"A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside is bed.
The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said.
"No, who are you ?" said the father.
"I'm the new minister at your church, he replied. When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."
"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"
Puzzled, the minister shut the door. "I have never told anyone this ... not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, "Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair, place and empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised; "I'll be with you always." Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now."
So I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me to the funny farm."
When you pray, just tell God about your day, your worries or your needs, or just rest in his presence with a favourite quote from Scripture. You need to do this just as you need time to just be with your spouse or your children each day. You are called to live your faith every day. Your relationship to God affects your perception of reality and in turn, your actions - a great preparation for a better "You" after the holidays. Fostering an intimate relationship with God is a lifelong process that doesn't take a holiday, any more than your breathing does, but can be strengthened during your vacation.
Besides walking with God and taking a holiday from all that is stressful, by all means take a holiday from sin. And you don't need me to tell you what sins plague your life! Unfortunately, there isn't a "patch" to help you kick the "sin habit." You'll have to do it "cold turkey. But the rewards are heavenly.
So, renew and refresh every aspect of your life this summer, remembering that, "We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life." (Eph. 2:10)