New Blog & Podcast Ask, “Is There a Theology of Vacation?”

The New “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast is out, and this week, we talk about a theology of vacation.  You can find all the links on all of our platforms at This is Gonna Hurt.

In this episode we discuss:

Is there a theology of vacation?  Well, not specifically, but in all things, we should build a theology around what we choose to do or not do.

Scripturally, there is definitive theology of sabbath – the commanded one day of rest in seven.  I think this is perhaps the hardest commandment given.  We all struggle with God having a say in our life.  The moment He says He is the Lord of our time, our hearts rebel, but that is a topic for another day.

As for vacation, Biblically, most people didn’t have the option in their day because they lived in an agrarian or agricultural society.  Oh, you can take a week off, but animals don’t milk themselves and crops aren’t harvested without you.  Leaving for any extended time might mean the death of your sources of income.

Mark 6:31 shows us Jesus took time away for rest, but no one with integrity could find an American styled vacation in His three years of ministry.

Really vacations are about being a good steward of all that God has given you.  As Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

So, how do you approach vacations?  I want to offer a few tips, especially as I approach my vacation very soon.  Full disclosure, many of my thoughts here are focused on vacations with a family with children.  I’ll leave that theology to someone else, but I will offer that some of the thoughts might be helpful to singles and married with no children couples.  For the sake of organization, I’ve divided my thoughts into three categories:

Time Alone

Vacation offers some rare time alone.  How do you redeem it?  I would say three ways:  exercising, reading, and spending time with God.  You may not get those each day, but if your family schedule allows, take it.  If you have small children who require attention, swap out time with your spouse so you can care for yourself.  Don’t let vacation be permission to eat terribly and not move.  If so, vacations just become a time of regret.  Don’t neglect time with God.  You won’t have more time when you get back home.  And read for goodness sake.  Engage those eyeballs in a good book.  Your brain will thank you.

Time with Spouse

This one can be tough when you have kids.  If you can’t get away from them, steal a few moments when they go to bed or get up.  If they are old enough and responsible enough, take a walk without them.  Make that time purposeful.  Have times where you talk about what you need to talk about.  Have times where you talk about interests (what you are reading, etc).  Enjoy each other.  Sit beside each other.  Walk on the beach.  Just don’t let vacation come and go without a few moment to be refreshed with each other.

Time with Children

Making vacation fun for your kids can make vacation not feel like vacation to the parents.  But here is the thing, there will come a day when your kids can’t take vacation with you because their lives are full.   Have fun with your kids.  Play board games.  Play on the beach.  Play, play, play.  Read together.  Whatever.  Just make the time with your kids purposeful.

Hopefully, you and your family can get a vacation this year, even if it is small.  Take it seriously.  Plan ahead so you can relax.  And in the everything, give thanks to God.

If you want to hear more about this thought.  Check out the “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast where I talk about this very topic.


Gospel Rich Books

This episode of the “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast is sponsored by Gospel Rich Books.  Gospel Rich Books offers a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

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Gospel Rich Books Blog


Smart Phones and Our Need to Feed

Our worlds revolve around our feeds.

Facebook gives you a feed of your friends’ activities mixed with your interest in groups, pages, with some ads tossed in.

LinkedIn provides the same, but the concept is more professional and less personal.

Even workout apps like Strava, and the like, provide the same.

The joy of our feeds is they keep us connected (at least digitally) and they inform us with news and updates that we choose (for the most part).

But we get lost in our feeding as well, don’t we?  One survey says that up to 80% of smart phone users check their feeds within 15 minutes of waking up.[i]  That’s an amazing stat that might very well be convicting as you consider your own patterns.

The true question is, “Are we better or worse off because of this reality?”

If that question is beyond us, we should at least ask, “Are my phone habits and tendencies spiritually and even physically healthy?”  The answers have incredible impact.  Consider these practical considerations in light of our constant need to check the feed.

Physically, am I doing damage to my eyes and even my brain by my “feeding” patterns?  Do I move less because I’m more attached to my phone’s screen?

Spiritually, am I feeling my soul with information that will encourage me and benefit me or am I filling my soul with data that tempts me to frustration and even jealousy?

Cognitively, am I losing connection with real people in real time by my need to feed.

Wherever you find yourself, choose discipline over being disciplined.  Practically, put disciplines in place where you are choosing to check your phone instead of your phone dictating to you.  Don’t let the need to check your phone function like the need to smoke a cigarette.

If you are in a place of authority or encouragement, like a parent or a doctor, be clear with guidelines that will healthfully instruct others to make good choices.

And finally, take a break every now and then.  Choose an evening or a lunch when your phone is not near you or perhaps even in another room.  Recognize your need to check your phone and suffer through the absence until it feels more comfortable.

Who knows?  You might even pick up a book.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

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