Written by Jennifer Coe | Image by Freepik
All Christians realize that our time with God is what builds our faith, keeps our eyes on Heaven and continues to direct our hearts toward Jesus. As many of us go on vacation during the summertime, we are often faced with the challenge of connecting with God while being out of our daily routine.
Whether your trip is two days or fourteen, missing your time to pray and read scripture can quickly reveal itself through impatience, anger, bad attitudes and self-focus. Obviously, these sins will appear any time we go without centering ourselves on God, but during vacation, it is important to make time for God as you may be faced with challenges not usual to your day. I have found a couple of things that help me when I spend time away from home.
1. Plan ahead
You may want to discuss ahead of time with your spouse how your times with God will be handled, especially if you have small children. If each spouse takes a turn at watching the kids, it may be possible to catch 15-30 minutes alone with God. Although we never want television to baby-sit our children, this may be a time when a hotel TV can be very useful in occupying the kiddos.
Also, discuss with your spouse the night before the day ahead looks like. If it will be a whole day of tooling around an amusement park, you and your spouse may need to opt to get up quite early in order to get time with God in some way, shape or form. This is also due to the fact that lunches may need to be packed, children dressed and lathered with sunblock. Accept assistance if grandparents are available!
2. Be flexible
Your vacation may not be the time to start reading the book of Revelations or Deuteronomy. Be in God's word, but don't expect to be writing a dissertation on your findings. If you are used to a solid 45 minutes in prayer and scripture, you may need to split it into two smaller sittings or scale back for the period of time your are away from home.
Often when I am away, I spend time in Psalms and Proverbs so that I can have God's word in my mind and heart during a heavily scheduled day. They are short, bullet type pieces of wisdom that I can carry with me. In other words, don't feel guilted-out if you don't have the same sort of connection with God that you may be able to achieve at home regularly. Anytime with God is good time, in my opinion. I have found that devotional books are especially useful during vacation because they have a topic and a conclusion clearly spelled out for you to think about.
3. Help your spouse/teen
It is very easy to be worldly and unconnected to God while away from your church body and constantly surrounded by all the pleasures of life and/or challenged of family (great sites, great food or difficult relatives or lack of privacy). I have found it very easy to be focused on myself; my desires and wants, and not on other people or being like Jesus. If you know that your spouse or your teen has not been able to manage a quiet time that day (and we should all be aware of each other's spiritual habits!), suggest even a short prayer as your drive to your next location. Another idea is to share with them what you are learning, or just discuss something spiritual. It is not a big time commitment and helps you feel like you are keeping God in your heart.
4. Find God in your surroundings
If you are traveling to a new place or you are surrounded by nature, look for God around you. Don't sit in your hotel room when you can put a small child in a stroller and take prayer walk. This time may also give the other spouse a moment to spend time with God alone. If you are surrounded by nature, praise God for his creation. Some of my best prayers have been on our vacations in Vermont by Lake Champlain; very inspiring!
Some of the challenges we face when we travel family members, schedules, cramped quarters, tight budgets, weather and illness. No one is alone in facing these challenges, we all have had to find ways to pursue good attitudes and be like Jesus while in difficult situations. I hope as you travel you will use a combination of these approaches as well as your own to continue in your faith and be close to God!
Jennifer Coe is a Stay at Home mom with a Master's in School Counseiling. Staying at home is full of drama one day and a comedy of errors the next! Jennifer has been married 10 years and has two children under the age of three.