Although I've enjoyed a few mini-breaks from my regular work routine here and there, I recently took my first official week of vacation for this year.
My wife and I escaped to the beach for part of that time period, but the first couple of days were spent at home. I usually have no problem getting into a restful frame of mind when at some vacation destination, but I find it a little more difficult when I'm still in my usual surroundings.
As I'm driving down that familiar road on which I'm normally in such a hurry, I have to make myself ease up on the accelerator while telling myself that there's no need to be in a rush today.
When I get caught in traffic, instead of letting it create stress, I remind myself to take it easy and enjoy the music playing on the radio.
When I find myself standing in a slow-moving line, I try to remember that I have no place else to be at the moment, so there's no need to be impatient.
In those circumstances, I sometimes intentionally have to try to channel my inner Bobby McFerrin, picturing myself lackadaisically strolling through the day humming "Don't worry, be happy." Maybe that's an attitude I should pursue more often, even when I'm not taking a few days off from work.
The Bible tells us to "rest in the Lord" (Psalm 37:7). I don't believe the Bible is talking about physical relaxation. If you read the full passage, it refers to waiting patiently for God, and it contains a couple of references to the command "do not fret."
I believe resting in the Lord involves a calm reliance on Him. It's leaning on Him for the support we need, with the peaceful assurance that He's going to hold us up and see us through.
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to maintain that kind of frame of mind too. We're speeding through our busy day when we suddenly realize that we're relying solely upon our own skills and strength to get us to our desired goal.
We haven't even thought of praying about those matters, looking to God for guidance, or reaching out to Him for that extra grace we need not only to accomplish our tasks but to do so with a Christlike spirit.
Other times our lives are clogged with a traffic jam of activities and problems. We can't move forward, so we just sit there and worry, getting overly-stressed about it all.
I'm not sure the musical philosophy about not worrying and being happy is adequate wisdom to help us deal with those occasions. But it does head us in the right direction.
More biblical lyrics might be, "Don't worry -- cast your cares on the Lord and trust Him to take care of things." Some of us definitely need to take a vacation from worry.
When events in our lives are moving more slowly than we wish, let's guard against getting impatient. If we're following the Lord, that slow-moving line might be the best one for us.
God can see what's ahead and we can trust His timing. Let's keep waiting and watching to see how He's going to work it all out for our good and for His glory.
I'll keep reminding myself to relax when I'm taking time off work, and let's all keep working on "resting in the Lord" no matter whether we're on the job, at home, or chilling out on a beautiful white sand beach.
We always need to be calmly and confidently trusting Him.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.