Have you planned your summer vacation yet? If you’re reading this, you’ve likely booked your getaway. But before you head out the door, pack your faith. Not sure what that looks like? Here are a few ideas.                    

  1. Serve. Service doesn’t need to be a planned, two-hour block of time, but rather think of it as divine moments throughout the day. Watch for times to surprise strangers with kind notes, strike up a conversation with a harried clerk, or pay it forward in a drive-through. Remember the waiter’s name. Ask him what the best meal is on the menu. Discover his favorite sites to visit. Offer to pray for your waiter, and leave him a good tip.
  2. Renew relationships. Screens have dominated our lives this past year, so put down the phones, tablets, and computers. Talk with your spouse about what you both need during this break, then honor each other’s wishes. Look your child in the face and give him your attention. Gather for board games on rainy days or at night. Ask questions at dinner to stimulate conversation: What did you see God do today? Where did you see needs? What was your favorite part of the day? 
  3. Pray. Pray for protection before you pull out of the driveway. Ask God to renew and refresh the spirit of each member of your family. Pray in restaurants before you eat. If you witness an accident, ask God to help and heal those involved. Show your children how prayer is a regular rhythm of your life—even while on vacation.
  4. Rest. Even Jesus needed time away for rest. Schedule downtime. Do you have a teenager? Let her sleep in. Choose another day to beat the crowds at Disney World. Hang out at a beach with nothing to do. My husband thrives on planning and doing. I prefer to be and rest. We have to work out a compromise.
  5. Worship. Visit a church or hold your own service. Choose a child to read a Bible story. Think of ways to apply the principles you learned. Take worship outside and observe a sunset or sunrise. Stay up and gaze at the stars. One year my family visited the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We waited until evening to search for ghost crabs with flashlights. We marveled at the low moon’s reflection shimmering across the waters. If you stop and notice, you can’t help but ponder a God who displays wonders.

Sally Cressman and her husband enjoy the empty-nest life in Brentwood. She is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger at www.sallycressman.com

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