“I think the best part of vacation is not being in a hurry,” I said to my husband as we drove away from the cottage. Baking cinnamon rolls and cooking omelets to order is an enjoyable and relaxing activity when I’m not under a time crunch. I love being able to sit at the table over a leisurely breakfast and laugh with our kids. I love talking through a section of Scripture and hearing insights from our growing teens. I love not having a schedule but just peering out the window to decide if it’s a better day for putt-putt golf or swimming.
This is the tenth year our family has traveled to the same cottage, nestled in the woods of northern MI, less than a mile from the coast of Lake Huron. It’s been a sweet place where we’ve made fond memories- swimming at the beach, smores and bonfires, reading books aloud at 10:00 pm, long games of Monopoly, watching fishermen bringing in the catch for the day, and the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor that gives scoops almost too big to eat. The cottage is literally off the grid, which helps us take a much needed break from technology. There are no televisions or wi-fi, so the distraction of text messages, emails and social media disappear. It’s normally the most refreshing week of our entire year.
So much of the time our life is spent rushing from one activity to the next. Our morning is chopped into 4 segments as our 4 kids, who this year each attended a different school (or schooling method), wake up and eat breakfast before scurrying off to the bus stop- often chasing the bus we just barely missed. Leisurely dinners are hard to come by during the school year as someone normally has a practice, or a Bible study, or a meeting. I’m rushing around the kitchen to make dinner and then hurrying people to finish eating so we won’t be late. It often feels like a breathless life that leaves us falling into bed exhausted at night, only to wake up and do the whole routine again the next day.
A week away without the demands of life causes me to reevaluate my priorities. It makes me see the need for rest, the need to quit scrolling and have my full attention on the precious people God has given me to do life with. A chance to spend longer segments of time lingering in God’s word and prayer. A time to catch up on sleep that we’ve been deprived of the rest of the year.
And always the question- how do we take a little bit of this week home with us? How do we not fall into the rat race of life? How do we prevent overscheduling that leaves us exhausted and stressed out? There are no easy answers or a formula that will always work. But I’m reminded of God’s pattern for work and rest. I’m reminded that the world goes on just fine without me posting on social media or answering all my emails. And I’m given a renewed purpose of trying to build times of rest into our weekly routine- whether that be through a weekly sabbath or an evening that has no activities scheduled.
Psalm 23 reminds me that as the Lord leads, he fulfills all our needs. He gives us rest for our souls and our bodies, and showers us with goodness and mercy.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul…
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:1-3, 6
So as we pack up and prepare to return home, I’m grateful for the gift of unhurried time. I’m thankful for the reminder of the need to rest and for the precious memories that come with learning to slow down and not be in a hurry.