Summer is here. The kids are out of school. You are getting ready for that family vacation.
Here are a few tips to help you have a godly and wonderful family vacation.
1. Provide a spiritual foundation before, during, and after your trip
Vacations are a break away from your normal routine, but vacations are not for breaking away from your relationship with the Lord. So before you head on vacation, remind yourself and your children that joy and satisfaction in this life come from a close walk with Jesus – not from the perfect family vacation.
Before you leave, explain that on vacation “everyone wins but no one wins all the time.” What I mean is that everyone in the family adopts a Philippians 2:3-4 attitude. There will be times when the oldest child gets his or her way, but there will be other times when the family does what mom or dad wants to do. Everyone is expected to consider others as more important than himself or herself.
While on vacation, have Philippians 2:3-4 and 2:14 memorized. During those moments when you are tempted to think of only yourself or are tempted to complain, remind yourself of the Scriptures. Of course, it may be necessary to remind another person in your family as well!
After vacation spend some time recounting all of the Lord’s blessings and goodness to you. Even if all your plans did not work picture perfect, you can still rejoice in how the Lord helped you handle any and all challenges.
2. Set the expectations along biblical guidelines rather than according to some euphoric standard
What I mean is that some people have such high expectations for vacation that they become incredibly discouraged and have zero fun while on vacation! They are so busy trying to get the next thing ready that they actually miss out on the fun.
The expectations instead should involve things like:
- No matter what, we will find our joy in the Lord
- We will thank the Lord and glorify him for all he allowed us to see, do, and experience
- We will behave in a servant fashion to all the members of our family.
Personal aside: Our family was on vacation last week and one of our experiences fit into category #1. We accidently left the stroller at the restaurant we ate at for dinner. By the time we realized it, we had another 25 minute trip away from our destination to retrieve the stroller and return. In those early moments I was irritated. The temptation was to remain irritated and to ruin all the fun for me and others. Instead, I needed to see this 25 minute extra round trip as simply another way in which I could find my joy in the Lord.
3. Enjoy to the fullest all that God allows you to experience
There was a very interesting “tithe” in the OT. It can be found in Deut 14:22-27. It was a tithe dedicated to enjoying God’s wonderful blessings. Verse 26 is the most interesting of all, “you may spend the money for whatever your heart desires.” There was a sense in which part of worship of the almighty God was celebrating and enjoying his bounty in our lives. (See my video post about this.)
So while you are on vacation, enjoy it to the fullest. It is a gracious gift from your father.
4. Prepare for vacation financially
Costs for vacations can get out of hand. It is very easy to spend far more than you should on vacation. Let me encourage you to have your budget planned out. Have the money that is available ready to go. Do what we are all commanded to do in Luke 12:13-21 – be on guard against greed. Vacation is a time when it is easy to see income distinctions. Don’t be greedy.
Greed will rob you of the joy found in experiencing God’s blessings, and it will cause great pain when you begin seeing the bills.
Family vacations can be a wonderful experience. They can give you great joy and can be opportunities for you to glorify God in some very exciting ways.
We hope you have an awesome family vacation this summer!