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.
32 thoughts on “What’s in Your Suitcase? Three Treasures to Pack and Three Attitudes to Leave Behind–a guest post by Sylvia Schroeder”
Sylvia, thank you for such an insightful post. My prayer is to apply this verse to my life, “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.”
What a worthy goal, Dawn. The verse you included helps me when negative issues swirl around us.
Dawn, thanks so much for weighing in. I love that verse. It is my prayer too. I seem to need that re-direction of focus often!
Sylvia, you’ve made me stop and think about my “packing” today. Thank you!
Me, too, Annie. We can apply Sylvia’s tips to our daily lives.
I feel like too often I’ve let a lot of unwanted stuff sneak in. Thank you Annie!
I love this insight, Sylvia. Sometimes a vacation can wear us out more than not taking one if our priorities are not set right. Your packing solution can make time away restful instead of stressful. And of course, having our Bible and journal with us will make sure we don’t leave behind the most important Person of all. Time with our Father in heaven will give us the peace we need no matter where we go. Thanks for sharing and thank you, Jeannie, for inviting Sylvia!
You’re welcome, Barbara. I knew readers would enjoy Sylvia’s insights. I love the perspective you shared as well.
Barbara, I feel like there is another blog there. “Restful instead of stressful.” I love that! You are so right, time with our Father gives true peace and rest. Thanks so much!
Amen! There’s always lots of “baggage” we should leave behind. Enjoyed the post ladies.
That’s true, J.D. I’m grateful God reveals those in prayer and Bible study.
Thanks J.D. Leaving behind unwanted baggage is sometimes harder than it should be. Jeannie said it well, “God reveals those in prayer and Bible study.” Thank you both!
My husband and I have traveled over a large part of the world in the past 15 years. Sometimes our luggage arrived at our destination with us, sometimes not. But what we packed in our hearts never got left behind, never landed in the lost luggage department of any airline. God stuck with us, never led us astray, never allowed us to miss our connections. Thank you, God, for your faithfulness no matter where we are.
Peggy, your words are beautiful and ring true like Sylvia’s. Thank you so much for these insights.
Peggy, you said that so well. His faithfulness always accompanies. There is much there for which to be grateful. Thank you.
Such good thoughts to ponder! Thank you for sharing Sylvia.
Perfect timing as we’re about to go on a short vacation. Getting away used to be super stressful to me as the mom (in charge of all the packing/prep), but now that our kids are getting older its so much more fun. Thank you for this added perspective!
I’m glad the post was timely for you, Stacey. Sylvia gave us wise suggestions to help us honor God.
A great and timely perspective on vacations! Thanks Sylvia and Jeannie for hosting her!
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Kathy. I did, too. I need to follow these steps daily.
Sometimes vacation is a getaway break from stress; sometimes it’s its own adventure. Seeking God no matter where we are is a crucial key you present well. Thanks, Sylvia and Jeannie for this post! God bless!
Nancy, thanks for your response. Seeking God daily is “a crucial key” to our walk with Him and interactions with others. I agree Sylvia presented the message with excellence.
Often the anticipation of a vacation exceeds the actual event itself, leaving us disappointed and downhearted. Taking along gratitude, discernment, and devotion will fill and renew us.
Candyce, thanks for reminding us to take along “gratitude, discernment, and devotion.”. You’re right they will fill and renew us. Thanks so much for adding to Sylvia’s wise advice about “packing.
Beautifully said. I try to look at vacation as a retreat. I am not always successful often finding myself in the I need to get away from it all category.
I understand, Jennifer. Maybe if we took frequent, brief retreat times , we’d be more prepared to embrace new times of learning without the excess baggage. That’s what I need to do anyway. Thanks so much for your comments.
I just returned from a vacation and your message has special meaning for me. I, too, take LOTS of stuff and it took me six trips to get everything out of my car and into the place we were staying. I was exhausted before our vacation began! Love your reminder to “take Jesus” with us on vacation. I always take my Bible and study materials, but confess I don’t spend as much time with Jesus as I should. Enjoyed your inspiring message. Hope you have a wonderful summer, Sylvia and Jeannie.
Katherine, I’m smiling about the number of trips you made to pack the car. Sounds like me. 😉 And I have the same confession to not spending as much time with Jesus as I intend while on vacation. With Sylvia’s wise words, we’ll remember this commitment the next time we pack for travel. Thanks so much for sharing.
Wise word! Thank you, both.
Thank you, Debbie. I think Sylvia’s post helped us all.
Thank you for your comment. Seeking God is indeed the key to Christlikeness.