From “Vacation Mode” to Kingdom Mindset: Balancing Rest and Obedience

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the allure of vacation mode—enjoying the change of pace, the peace, and the relaxation. The thought of returning to work, school, busyness, messiness, and the general monotonous aspects of life can quickly become a dread.

But as Christians, it’s important to remember that our ultimate purpose in life isn’t to follow after temporary pleasures or seek comfort and relaxation. Sinclair Ferguson well said,

“Twentieth-century man needs to be reminded at times that work is not the result of the Fall. Man was made to work, because the God who made him was a ‘working God.’ Man was made to be creative, with his mind and his hands.”

God hasn’t called us to a life of ease and rest; He’s called us to work, to serve, to give, and yes, sometimes to suffer. Yet we’re borne up by the power of His Spirit, not on our own strength. We can rejoice in the fact that He’s given us this work to do (Ecclesiastes 2:24, 3:13). He’s even called us to bear burdens—both our own and those of others (Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:3-4).

This means that we’re called to deny ourselves and pursue His will, even if it means sacrificing our own desires and comforts. By denying ourselves and seeking God’s will above our own desires, we can fulfill our ultimate purpose—to glorify God—and make a positive impact on the world around us with the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Jesus calls us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.

Luke 9:23

And while taking a break and enjoying leisure activities can be beneficial, living in a constant state of “vacation mode” will be detrimental to our spiritual growth and relationship with God. The frequent prioritizing of personal pleasure over obedience to God will lead us away from His best plans for our lives. We shouldn’t make it a priority to live a life of “rest and relaxation.” Instead, we must prioritize our relationship with God and our calling to serve.

However, it’s still important for Christians to maintain a healthy balance in our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. So, here are some practical ways that you can care for your body and soul while also pleasing God and serving others.

Prioritize time with God

Jesus prioritized and modeled solitude and rest for Himself (Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:31). Faithfully spending time alone dedicated in prayer, Scripture meditation, and Bible reading is crucial for our spiritual well-being (Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 62:1; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:9-11). Pastor John MacArthur states, “Without a proper view of God there cannot exist a proper view of man.” By prioritizing time with God, we can fill our spiritual tank and be better equipped to serve others.

Take heed to yourself. Your own soul is your first and greatest care. Keep up close communion with God. Study likeness to Him in all things.

Robert Murray McCheyne

Set healthy boundaries

If we have God, we have all that we need (Psalm 23:1), so it’s important to set healthy boundaries in our relationships and commitments. This may mean saying “no” to things that drain our energy or take us away from our priorities—God’s priorities. By doing so, we can help prevent burnout and have more capacity to serve others—including those in our own homes—regularly.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

Practice gratitude

Cultivating a heart of gratitude can help us focus on the positive and can increase our overall well-being. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude is physically beneficial. It’s associated with better sleep quality, lower levels of stress and depression, and increases in happiness and life satisfaction. By expressing gratitude outwardly and intentionally for the many blessings in our lives, we can also develop a deeper heart of adoration to God and compassion towards others. Combined, they then provide a great motivator for serving.

If you fail to carry around with you a heart of gratitude for the love you’ve been so freely given, it is easy for you not to love others as you should.

Paul David Tripp

Engage in activities that bring others joy

Engaging in activities that bring joy can help us recharge and reduce stress. Whether it’s spending time together outdoors, pursuing a hobby with your child or friend, or spending time with loved ones, setting time aside for ourselves in this way can also help us show up more fully for others when we’re called to serve them. How beautiful it is to have a purpose and a calling that transcends our own little selfish desires!

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.

John Wesley

Serve with a team

Serving with a team can help us feel supported and encouraged while also providing an opportunity to learn from others. By working together, we can also make a greater impact than we could alone (Ecclesiastes 4:9). There are countless service teams at Friendship Baptist Church who are eager to partner with you in serving others. Be sure to reach out if you need ideas on how and where to serve!

God, I pray Thee, light the idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.

Missionary Jim Elliot

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About Friendship Baptist Church

Our purpose is to make much of our Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel through the preaching of His Word and the making of disciples. At Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) we teach the Bible in order to facilitate spiritual growth in all of God’s people and to provide opportunities for Christian fellowship. God has graciously used Friendship to further His work both locally and across the globe since 1965.