Why I No Longer Take God on Vacation

We look forward to vacations, because they give us a chance to exhale and breathe. But, sometimes, in an attempt to escape life as we know it for a week, we leave God at home.

We don’t do it on purpose. We even pack our suitcases with good intentions: Bible, journal, Bible study, and pens along with our passports, suntan lotion, and 2GO booking. Check, check, check, and check. It is at this point our experiences may differ.

You may follow through as intended. Too often, however, I don’t.

Going on a vacation is an exciting time, it’s a time where you can relax and enjoy yourself. It’s a time where people can go treat themselves and enjoy their vacation. People might decide that they want to stay in somewhere like this Hilton Head Holiday Inn Resort, or that they would much prefer to have a staycation instead. Whatever the reason for your vacation, or where ever you go for it, you can sometimes forget to bring God.

Once home, unpacking an unused Bible left me feeling as if I’d missed out on something special during my vacation. And I had. But life quickly ensued and the yearning for something more while on vacation faded into the background of a busy life. That is, until the next time I unpacked an unused Bible.

There is a dynamic shift in perspective when we grasp that God goes with us everywhere, including our vacations—that we don’t pack Him in a suitcase between the toiletries and the extra pair of shoes? He created rest, both temporal and eternal, and He longs to join us in both.

Going on vacation without choosing to engage God’s “withness” is like drinking tepid lemonade by the pool. It can satisfy for a moment but your thirst is never fully quenched.

So how do we join God—engage the power of His being with us—on vacation this summer?

  1. Delve into the Word, even if for only a few minutes. Scripture is alive! (Hebrews 4:12) It quickens in our soul to produce a holy alliance that cultivates a life of love, joy, hope, freedom, and rest.

“With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:10-11 ESV

  1. Pray. It doesn’t have to be long or filled with flowery words. In fact, based on Matthew 6:7, Jesus emphasizes how He loves to hear prayers directly from the heart. Period. When we engage the power of God’s withness, it is there we find confidence and joy in knowing we have been heard.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

  1. Raise the awareness of your surroundings. Consider Jesus and the way He mastered the skill of sensory teaching. The storms, vineyards, the building and usage of the Temple—He knew the power of our sensory system, for He created it and leveraged it throughout the Bible to ultimately draw people closer to truth and to Himself.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good.” Psalm 34:8

This magnificent mystery of having the one true living God with us in every aspect of life is not one I’ve always fully appreciated. Those Bible-less vacations tugged on me somewhere deep down inside. Looking back, I see how legalism, guilt, and truth all took their turn at the ropes. But now, as I embrace God’s presence in me and with me, I fully entrust the tugging only to truth, allowing it to ring freedom throughout my soul.

Now I recognize the truth. We don’t take God on vacation—He takes us. And when we choose to engage His presence through His Word, prayer and leveraging our God-given senses, all of life is enhanced, especially our time away for rest and refreshment.

Bio: Cathy Baker is a Bible teacher and an award-winning writer who delights in observing God at work in the nuances of life. Her recent release, Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach (available on Amazon) is the first in a series of books created to draw readers closer to God through our five different seasons. A variety of vacations, as well as holiday celebrations, will soon follow.

Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Upper Room, Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, etc. Her poetry has been published in two anthologies. She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas where she one day hopes to raise miniature Pygmy goats.

Greetings, Fellow Adventurers,

I’m taking just a two week break from the blog to rest and recreate! Thank you to my two great writer friends, Cathy Baker and next weekend, “Good Golly, Miss Molly” Nancy Wolfe. I know you’ll enjoy meeting them. This would be a great two weeks to catch up on posts you’ve missed, peruse one of my books, or just sit on the front porch and consider the lilies of the field. I’ll see you all again in June! Mercy and grace, Lori

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    The Conversation

  1. Laura A. Grace says:

    Thank you so much, Cathy, for sharing this. My family and I are heading to the beach for a week long vacation in about a month. What you shared about leaving God at home is something I tend to do every year and the guilt always eats at me when coming back, especially like you, unpacking my Bible. Thank you for the reminder that God is always with us and that He takes us on vacation. God is good!

    • Cathy Baker says:

      Hi, Laura! Thanks so much for sharing. I pray you and your family will have a sweet time of fellowship with God and with each other during your upcoming beach vacation. 🙂

      P.S. At the end of the devotions in my book, there’s a link you can click to access group/family questions if you wish. I didn’t mention it above so I thought I’d give you a heads up! Blessings to you.