Should we be on vacation?
Ever since our children were born, we’ve gone to Florida nearly ever year. For the most part, it’s been with other members of the family and makes for fond memories. While there are other areas we’ve been and considered, our thing is simply getting a condo or townhouse on the beach and hanging out.
As many of you know, our financial picture has been looked a bit different since 2008. While we love what we do, being a business owner sometimes just doesn’t have the consistent cash flow we used to see with a corporate leadership position. For this reason, we’ve had many stewardship discussions within our family. We have been reevaluating whether or not certain things are truly being the best stewards of our funds and, in the big picture, honoring to God. As you can imagine, our vacation time has come under scrutiny.
As we tend to do, we take things to our Lord and read His Word. There is definitely scriptures to support taking a time away for rest. For example, if you’re not in the habit of taking a weekly sabbath, we encourage you to consider doing so. Additionally, in Mark 6 when Jesus feeds five thousand, the apostles were actually taking a time of rest from their missions. Jesus speaks: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” Mark 6:31. So, clearly times of rest and leisure are biblical.
Adding to this, while I love the country we live in, we must recognize that we live in a very fast paced culture. The United States compared to much of the world operates in a “time is money” mindset. Vice verse, the majority of the word focuses more heavily on community and relationships with task-oriented work taking a backseat. This isn’t to say the rest of the world has it right and we have it wrong, it’s simply an observation that people growing up in the United States culture may need to give some consideration as to the importance of rest and leisure.
So, there are plenty of reasons why we should consider taking time away; however, what does it need to look like and does it need to cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to do so. This brings us back to The Arnold’s personal story and where we’re tending to land to date.
While the specific stories are incredible and we’ll share in more detail one of these days, let me just say that we sure sense that God is honored by our vacation time in Florida. In the past few years, we’ve been to Florida three times plus once for a high school spring break missions trip. Each of the three times, we really haven’t had the cash flow to support the trip. We’ve always had money in the bank to cover, however, had to step out in faith on immediate cash flow. God has repeatedly honored this step in faith. Let me explain.
In February 2011, we were at a point of total surrender and giving up financial security in our lives. Many of you know the story. That year, we were really wrestling on whether or not to take the kids on spring break. After continued prayer and counsel, we decided that we’d go not knowing if it was the right decision. Traveling down to Florida, driving through the mountains, I turned to Lisa and said, “I sure hope we’re honoring God by taking this vacation”. She said, “well, we’re either honoring God or being stupid.” Immediately, my phone rang which I decided to pick up while driving. It was a call informing us of a check which was being mailed that we weren’t expecting. Later that week, we also received a check from a client whom has become one of our best clients.
In November 2011, as a family, we decided to celebrate my parents 50th anniversary over Thanksgiving in Florida. Again, this was one where the cash flow wasn’t supportive, however, we felt that it was a great investment in time. That week, I received a phone call totally out of the blue asking me to do a one day consulting trip upon my return. This one day trip would cover the majority of our expenses for the vacation.
This brings us to this week’s trip. Having just been to Florida over spring break with our high school ministry, we weren’t sure that we should invest in another trip to Florida. Additionally, with my going on the mission trip in September and raising funds, there was an aspect of this where I felt guilty going on a vacation while raising funds to go on a mission trip. Shouldn’t I be applying these funds to the mission trip versus asking others? Adding to this, it wasn’t like we didn’t have money in the bank, however, cash flow was a bit tight and we would have to place the reservations on a credit card. With all of this, between Lisa and I, we’d prayed about this for weeks and felt that we should go. We always came back to the fact that this was what our family does to spend family time together and our hearts were in the right place.
So, we booked the condo and immediately that day we received a check from a client who paid earlier than expected. As we shared with another couple that evening, some would see this a coincidence, however, we saw it as confirmation from God. So, this brings us to Friday prior to taking off for vacation. In the morning, Lisa and I were sitting in my “outside office” in prayer and study of His Word. For some reason, I decided to check the bank account. Imagine our surprise when we saw a wire transaction for a large sum of money we thought might be coming, however, weren’t absolutely sure. We both had tears in our eyes and were speechless as we reflected upon God’s provision.
So, as for the Arnold’s, we’re in Destin, FL this week and this will likely be the only blog I write as we enjoy time together as a family. The picture above is a view from our condo as I write this morning. If you look just beyond the blue canopy to the last open umbrella, you’ll see the spot reserved for us this week on the beach.
So, how about you? Is God calling you to a time of rest? If so, it may not be Florida for you, however, we encourage you to take time away. God will bless you in ways you’ve never imagined. Who knows, like the apostles in Mark 6, you may find that He’s using this time to build His Kingdom in amazing ways.
Have a fantastic week! Blessings, Chris