A couple of months back, two things occurred to me. 1) I’ve lived in Florida for over 2 years now and 2) I hardly ever go to the beach even though its only an hour to Daytona.
With the prospect of God providing full time work in a state that might be aesthetically challenged, I thought it would be shame to live that close to the ocean and not take it in on a regular basis.
Technically there were three things 1that occurred to me: 3) I’m not doing a good job of guarding my Sabbath refresh time.
These three things conspired together to form a single plan: every Monday I make the drive up to Daytona 2 and just veg out for a day (and hopefully not get too sunburned).
I’ve been doing this for almost a couple of months now (well, consistently for the past month) and it has been both relaxing and refreshing. It’s a legitimate all-day commitment so if anyone tries to encroach on the time I can say I have a previous commitment. I need this on a weekly basis to stay sane and to keep stress at bay. Its both good for my body and soul 3 and I think good for my external relationships as well.
Even now, I’m typing this from the porch of a Holiday Inn overlooking a pool overlooking the ocean. The weather is perfect and we’re here with Ali’s family and family friends. 4 It’s been a perfectly relaxing Labor Day weekend.
I think this is an example of Sabbath rest at its finest. I mean, everything in my external life is not exactly how I would want it (see previous post Running Without A Title). I have an awful lot on my plate right now, and though my wife and I would like to start having kids, we need her income right now and she doesn’t want to work after having kids. But today, and this weekend, that’s not what we’re focused on.
This illustrates perhaps the hardest part of my weekly getaways. I speak of course of guarding my thoughts so concerns don’t creep in and start their own “Occupy Nate’s Mind” movement. Reading helps with that, but sometimes reading exacerbates it. If I’m reading books on ministry, it’s good for reflecting and checking my heart, but it also turns my thoughts towards my frustrations with my current local church 5 and with my lack of a full time job. So clearly there is a need for balance since I need the day off to recalibrate, but I also want to be refreshed by my reading and not unduly introspected by it.
Overall, I think I do a good job with this. Reading fiction on Mondays helps, as does reading for fun more than for review or for school (see my upcoming post on how I organize my reading). I also tend to follow my own advice for how to have a better day off. The whole process helps me to reset and to re-think. It’s a time of mostly silence (except for what’s jamming in my headphones) and solitude, and that’s just plain good for my soul on a regular basis.
In the end, things swimming under the surface tend to emerge on my weekly trip to the beach. 6 It gives me an opportunity to process them, but then turn them over to God and not be overly preoccupied with them. This weekend, while longer, has been just like the other trips. A time to relax, to enjoy some college football and reading by a hotel pool. A time to get some sun and eat carbs before going paleo tomorrow, to spend time with Ali and think about the upcoming fall and plan and enjoy a long date.
- “There’s always three things.” – John Frame ↩
- Technically Ormond which is the next beach to the north and has a superb public park with beach access, free parking, and exquisitely clean restrooms (and fewer tourists) ↩
- Technically “spirit” but I like the literary associations of body + soul ↩
- Although clearly the fact that I’m writing this means they are all sitting at a group table talking amongst themselves and I am at a separate table being all introverted as is my custom. ↩
- I’ll post more on this at another time. I think most of the frustrations are on my end, and its just something I’ll have to deal with. ↩
- Which when not-metaphorical, is my fear every time I get into the ocean ↩