Last week my family took part in the hip and, for many, obligatory recession trend of 2009. Yes, that's right—we went on "staycation."
I don't know who originally coined this concept, but I began to see the word showing up in popular media last summer. Gas prices had hit an average of 4 dollars a gallon, so families—wanting to save money—decided to discover the sites closer to home. "Staycation" even became number 6 on Time Magazine's Top 10 Buzzwords of 2008.
When my husband and I first talked about jumping on the bandwagon, I was incredulous. It seemed, well, boring. However, I was soon persuaded by the romantic notion of "exploring my own backyard." The concept of a staycation is quaint—conjuring up nostalgic images of a time when families enjoyed one another and their local surroundings without many of the modern "conveniences" we have today. There's a simplicity and sweetness found in the idea. I'll admit I was also enamored with the ease of staying home, which I assume most moms are. Saving money on gas and fast food that I'll only scold myself for eating? Not traveling in the car with our five-month-old daughter? Okay, I think I can handle this.
So we bought our favorite foods, researched cheap activities in our town, and then instead of spending hours in the car, we just … stayed. We relaxed. We talked. We read. We connected with each other.
I had a difficult time adjusting those first few days. I felt unproductive and lazy. Isn't it weird that I felt I should have been productive … on vacation? But here I was—at home with no responsibilities and still unable to truly relax.
I don't think I'm the only one who struggles with restlessness. Jesus addressed our longing in Matthew 11:28-29: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Our response to Jesus' invitation is two-fold, and it's vital that we heed both parts. First, we come. He calls, then we listen and respond. Rest for the weary is found in fleeing to him. "I will arise and go to Jesus," says the old hymn. He is waiting for us to go to him in prayer and enter his presence.
Once we answer his invitation, we stay. We wait for him. We rest in his love. The only action we take is opening our hands and lives to the work of the Holy Spirit.
The posture of staying is wildly unconventional. It's not based on our productivity, which is where many of us, myself included, easily place our worth. Our culture teaches us that who we are is intrinsically linked to what we do. Christ has never seen his children that way.
As we rest in Jesus, our focus shifts from productivity to receptivity. Open hands. Open heart. He will give us the deep refreshment and satisfaction our hearts desire. There is nothing to prove here; it is simply a haven of his bountiful grace. Abide in Christ (John 15), and from that posture of receptivity you will grow into richer faith and closer discipleship.
That's the thing about staying home: not much happens outwardly. To the world it may seem trivial and boring. Sometimes we also see resting in Jesus this way when we don't get the results we want in a timely manner. I know I'm guilty of viewing my spiritual life this way.
My staycation taught me a lot about what it means to rid myself of these false ideas. Once I'm able to let go of my own agenda, Christ gives me the renewal I crave. Ironically enough, this is when powerful growth can happen—when we're not ashamed to admit we're weak and need Jesus. When we don't do anything for him, but we simply enjoy being with him as his children.
This summer, I hope you find refreshment from responsibilities that weigh on you, whether you get away or stay home. More than that, though, I hope you find and enjoy the fulfilling rest only Christ can offer. Allow him to quench your thirst and work in your heart. You will reap inner treasures that the world can never measure.
Copyright © 2010 by the author or Christianity Today/Kyria.com.
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