Last week I took a “staycation” – a week off of work to go nowhere and do nothing. And it was glorious. I slept in nearly every morning. I took walks in the middle of the day and stopped to chat with people I met with no need to rush home. I scheduled play dates for my puppy. I had leisurely, unhurried conversation with dear friends. I cooked. I cleaned. I read. I watched trashy day time television (ok, not proud of that, but it’s true).
Now, I must admit that as a child didn’t understand this concept. Nearly everyone I knew only took vacation when they were going somewhere, my family included. Vacation did not mean “not working;” it meant “travel somewhere new and different.” A guy I worked with at the local grocery store and the school custodian were the only people I knew who took time off of work without going anywhere. I thought it was weird. To those two men, I apologize! I get it! I needed a “staycation” because frankly I was just plain exhausted – too exhausted to do anything but just stay home. The pace of my life and lack of self-care had caught up with me.
Life moves so fast. Everyone is busy. But why? Why do I pack my life so full that the content runs off the edges, leaving no margin, no room for error, and no room for reflection? I have to admit that I like to be busy. It is a beautiful distraction from my own thoughts and easily allows me to deny various areas where growth and change are needed. It’s also a way to feel important and valuable, albeit not a very effective one. I so easily begin to define myself by what I do instead of who I am. This makes it so hard to say no and so hard to slow down and so hard to rest. But as I’ve said before, busyness is not a badge of honor. Busyness is another enemy of true identity in Christ. The loudness of my busy life easily drowns out God’s voice – a voice that I’m often too afraid to listen to, fearful of what it might say.
In my busyness, I so easily forget my true identity as God’s beloved daughter and need to find something to fill the void that is left by my forgetfulness. In the stillness and in the quiet I must face myself and my Maker. When I slow down, I must cope with the hurt and pain in my life – both caused by others and by my own sinfulness. But it is only in the stillness where I am able to hear God’s voice, claim my true identity, and receive His healing.
Psalm 46:10a says, “Be still and know that I am God.” And when Elijah was discouraged, God showed up in a whisper (1 Kings 19). And that voice I feared would meet me with condemnation and scorn? Well, instead it meets me with gentle grace and unfathomable forgiveness. Yes, it’s a voice that convicts and disciplines, but it does so with unending love and mercy. God’s voice is tender, patient, kind, slow to anger, and quick to comfort. The whisper of God’s voice is worth slowing down to hear for it speaks truth and breathes life into the empty void created by busyness. Only God can provide the value and worth I try to create on my own through constant doing. Only slowing down to listen to God’s whisper can provide the peace, security, contentment, and rest I so desperately crave.
Do you need a “staycation”? Is God calling you to slow down and listen for the whisper of His voice? What keeps you from slowing down and doing less?