Jayne and I took our three active boys on a vacation last summer. We were excited! Who doesn’t love vacation? You get to forget about your responsibilities at home and explore places you’ve never seen. And the best part, it’s an excuse to eat out all the time!

Our trip took us to Redding, California. What’s not to love about Redding? Okay, maybe the heat. There’s an outlet mall for my wife, a water slide park for the kids, and an In-N-Out Burger for me – a trifecta of awesomeness!

The first place we hit was the burger joint. Our oldest is gluten and dairy free, so he just had a patty and fries. We felt bad for him, but not too bad. The rest of us were able to enjoy the feast to its fullest extent: double patty with cheese, lettuce, onion, and the special sauce. Yes, we had fries too, but nothing compares to the burger.

Next, we went to the water park, and it rained the whole time. In fact, they shut the park down early because it of how bad it was pouring. The kids didn’t care about the rain though. They figured, why else would you go to a water park other than to get wet? So, they had a good time regardless.

Finally, we went shopping at the outlet mall. Oddly enough, I was the one who got the shopping bug. The number of clothes bought went in this order:  Sabin (8 pieces), the boys (4 pieces), Jayne (2 pieces). I guess you can just call me, “Mr. Gap.”

As our vacation came to a close, and we drove into our garage, we were exhausted! What a long trip! But, why are we so tired? Shouldn’t we be feeling rested? We had so little responsibility. We didn’t have to clean house or do dirty dishes, and we didn’t have to worry about the concerns of work pulling at us.

Two weeks later, we decided to take a day trip to the coast. We hopped in the van and drove to Sunset Bay. We spent the day hanging out at the tide pools, swimming in the water, and walking on the beach—nothing fancy. There were no big-name chain restaurants, and outlet malls are non-existent in Coos Bay. But something felt different when we got home. We weren’t exhausted. In fact, we actually felt refreshed, maybe even restored.

What was different about our day trip to the coast? First of all, it was simple. We didn’t have to book any hotels. In fact, we didn’t have to plan ahead at all; we just hopped in the van and drove for a couple of hours. Secondly, it was relaxing. No having to tell the kids to be quiet in the hotel. There wasn’t the business of being busy all around us. It was just us, the ocean, and the rest of God’s creation, and there were no time limits on how long we could be there. And finally, it was fun!  The kids and I lifted up rocks to see what kind of crabs we could find. And, the kids could be as loud or as quiet as they wanted.

Sometimes I wonder if we work too hard at trying to relax. We plan all these activities in places where it is impossible for us to rest and restore.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself and your family:

  1. What are some activities our family enjoys?
  2. What helps us restore?
  3. What busy activity can we cut out and replace with something restful?

God created rest for us to enjoy. Let’s not work too hard at trying to achieve it.

– Sabin Gautreau