Gazing at this baby blue sky and these perfect palm trees over an indulgent brunch, I think maybe I have arrived at some contentment and understanding over Gods perspective on my aroma of coconut and lime. I think.
I have been wrestling a lot lately with this topic. God vs Pleasure. Otherwise know as self-serving, enjoyment, relaxation and rest. When the idea first presented itself for me to tag along on my husbands work trip to Costa Rica, I dug my heels in, assuming finances and scheduling and my messy blended blessings of Mom, StepMom, Wife, Housekeeper, Business Owner, Entertainment Coordinator, Volunteer and Taxi Driver would simply not make room for it. My hubby would be working for most of our trip so the realization of how much peace and quiet and relaxation, reading and writing time that left for me…alone…in the sun….with other people preparing my food and cleaning my room…was well…simply sinful it seemed to me. Like total, self serving me consuming bliss. Did I deserve such a thing? Was it really the best thing for my family? For Me? For my Marriage? For God? I mean wouldn’t he rather have me give the money for this trip to the poor instead? Eek. It kept me up at night. (It also showed me how far I have come in my understanding of Gods virtues as last year I came on this same trip but definitely not with this awakening in me. I was grateful and felt blessed but never for a minute thought I didn’t “deserve” or somehow “earn” every ounce of it. Isn’t revealing and refreshing to look back at the intention behind our choices from time to time?)
My husband encouraged me to pray and keep my heart open for Gods will to work. I did. And he did. My kids Dad was excited to take them on a trip this week when they were originally scheduled to be at my house, our tax return and my consulting work provided an abundance for my airline ticket plus a little bit more. We gave our 10% to heavens wallet and still there was some left over. God just kept nudging me towards vacation speed…. or did he? Was it him or the selfish desires of my heart? I couldn’t shake the guilty feeling. I really wasn’t sure about it all and it was truly buggin me. I always tell Moms in my business coaching that “Guilt Trips are God Checks.” What did I need to check in with God about on this one?
After a few weeks of not fully surrendering to the prospect of vacation speed, I finally went where I should have gone in the first place for the answers – the Bible. I searched for scripture about sandy beaches, mimosas, naps and hammocks. While I did not find as many of these details as I hoped, I did find an abundance of wisdom in multiple places about the need for rest and enjoyment. Remembering that God loves me like I love my children, I also had the epiphany of how much it blesses me when my kids enjoy a gift I choose for them, I wouldn’t want them to give it back and say they don’t think they deserve it. Adding to this, our pastor led us last Sunday to some perfectly timed Sabbath reminders. Simply Divine.
For the trifecta, this morning in my bible study I found myself in Ecclesiastes 5:19: “When God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil, this is a gift from God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”
There is a tremendous amount in these pages that basically says God created you for flip flops sometimes and to rest in him and enjoy his bounty. And by the way, you can’t take it with you so live it up people. Life here is rather short and meaningless. Eternity is all that counts. Do stuff that matters there most of all.
While my research revealed there is much interpretation over this subject in the Christian community I have come to a place of peace for my own soul. I’ve joined these words in Ecclesiastes with his commandments of gratitude and servitude. I’m content for today pausing in the belief that God calls us to work sometimes and calls us to rest sometimes. He asks mostly that we pray to hear and see his will in it all and that we go in gratitude wherever he asks us to be, regardless of how convenient and comfortable it is. For me, giving each moment to his plan with a grateful heart, strengthens my relationship with him, makes me stronger in my faith and understanding of how much he loves me through good times and bad, and his protection over me, in work and rest, helps me stand stronger against the enemy and sin.
So that’s where I’m at Day 2 of vacation. Just finished that incredibly yummy brunch I started when my fingers hit the keyboard and now I’m headed to the pool with my book. During my writing and reading I had the chance to tell my server (who asked about my Bible) a little more about God and I prayed with him for his family who is enduring some financial troubles. I gave him some verses to read at home with his wife and daughters. His eyes sparkled at me in relief and connection and I felt God tell me “YES! This is why I needed you here Mindee! Thank you for listening.”
Wherever you are and go and worry over today, poolside or bedside, ups or downs, just thank God, praise him for all he is giving you or teaching you and gladness will be yours all the days of your life.
Love & Serve & Rest Easy in Gods Glow!
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