Welcome to Sylvia Schroeder, my friend and today’s guest blogger. Her excellent writing sprinkled with humor and biblical perspective will encourage you. Whether you plan to travel this summer or enjoy a staycation, don’t miss Sylvia’s wise words.
Her bio and website link are below. You’ll love her short blog posts filled with strong teaching and humor. As a mom, grandmother, and missionary, she shares heart-warming stories filled with truth.
What’s in Your Suitcase: Three Treasures to Pack and Three Attitudes to Leave Behind by Guest Blogger, Sylvia Schroeder
Suitcases lined the pathway to our front door.
“Are we moving?” I asked my husband.
His good-natured chuckle assured me the body-building trek to the car and back would not be held against me. Surely, I thought, we don’t need all this for a short vacation. But then, what if it’s cold? What if it’s hot? What if there’s rain? What if we’re hungry?
We’d checked the weather app, mapped cheapest gas, and bought a plethora of snacks. We prepared for every contingency we could imagine. We both have great imaginations.
However, in my detailed planning to get-away, sometimes I pack what I don’t wish to and leave behind what is most important. Perhaps you do the same.
I look at being on vacation as a blissful departure from reality. As if I can leave myself behind along with daily stresses. But I always come with all my own baggage packed too.
We find Paul the Apostle in 2 Corinthians feeling vulnerable like we do at times. His heart weighed heavy with concerns. “I had no rest in my spirit,” he wrote (2:13 NKJV). He was burdened beyond measure, above strength, and despaired of life (1:8). He felt hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down.” (4:8-9).
It sounds to me like he needed a reprieve. He needed a break. He could have used a vacation.
Recently my husband and I both needed to leave behind busyness and stress. We longed for rest and renewal. We desired a reprieve from distractions. A short holiday turned into a lovely respite. We walked the beach and delighted in the beauty and sounds of the water. Our time away achieved much for which we’d hoped. We returned ready to resume life with energy and clearer perspective.
However, I can’t say this has always been our experience. Sometimes we’ve folded into our suitcases too many impossible expectations and unreasonable wishes. Situations we desired to leave behind tagged along to our destination, and the bliss we’d envisioned came fraught with less than the imaginary photo promised.
The fact is leisure can be couched in self-centeredness. Vacation away can also become a vacation from God.
The fact is leisure can be couched in self-centeredness. Vacation away can also become a vacation from God. Click To Tweet
Paul, whose resume included prestige, a pedigree of the tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew of the Hebrews, Pharisee, zealous, faultless according to the law, had his share of troubles.
Yet, he considered knowing Christ above all else. He did not carry hidden baggage full of self-centered demands as I might. He kept sight of spiritual goals in each and every location, each and every season.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NIV
Wherever your summer’s destination, regardless the number of bags you carry, keep them light by leaving behind the following:
1. “I deserve this.”
Isn’t that often our vacation bottom line? If a holiday is all about me, my luggage will not have room for much more. The change of pace we desperately need will be out of reach. I am a hard master to satisfy.
2. “It’s vacation, I can do what I want.”
Work hard, play harder we are told. In many ways vacation is a payoff for time spent in our daily trenches, but the subtle message of this mindset empties my jar without filling it with what is most important.
3. “I will leave all my problems behind.”
If my whole goal lies in getting away from, how dreadful it becomes to go back to.
So, what should you be sure to take instead?
- Gratitude. Expectations belong to the Lord. A holiday provides opportunity for intentional thanksgiving. Allow time to bask in what God has done in the past. Name your blessings. Pause for spiritual reset and praise Jesus with renewed energy.
- Discernment. Lasting satisfaction is in Christ alone. Choose to rest and replenish wisely. Consider the needs of others. Seek the kind of healthy fun that makes good memories for everyone.
- Devotion. Pack a Bible and journal. Explore God’s Word with curiosity. Pray passages of Scripture. Love and linger in His Presence. Delight in Him. Worship and sing praises.
When you intentionally pack Jesus into your vacation, it is not a self-centered vacuum.
When you intentionally pack Jesus into your vacation, it is not a self-centered vacuum. Click To Tweet
Paul, despite great daily stresses, found renewed strength by humbling himself. He looked away from self and gazed upward.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
Are you planning a summer vacation? What’s in your suitcase?
Please share your comments with us. Visit Sylvia’s website When the House is Quiet and connect with her on social media.
Sylvia Schroeder loves connecting God’s Word with real life. She is an award-winning writer and co-author of “Be Still and put your PJs on.” She is a contributing writer for Salem Media, various magazines, blogs and in several book compilations. Mom to four, grandma to 14, and wife to her one and only love, Sylvia enjoys writing about all of them.
Her love for all things Italian stems from years of ministry abroad. She’d love to tell you about it over a steaming plate of pasta. Connect with Sylvia on her blog, When the House is Quiet, Facebook page or Twitter.