Don’t you wish you could stay forever?
My family and I went on a trip to Kauai last spring and it. was. amazing. Easily the highlight of 2022 and maybe my life.
I’ve visited some pretty cool places on the planet before but this was the first time I actually considered, “Could we just drop everything and move here?” And we met a handful of people on the island who had done just that. They sold the house, the cars, everything, to relocate to paradise.
Returning to normal life can be hard. Maybe you are coming off a fun post-Christmas vacation, or you said goodbye to your beloved family visiting for the holidays, or you simply got a few extra days off work to do other work. Whatever it is, reentry to our regular routine is sometimes tough.
Actually, the best part about our vacation wasn’t the tropical beaches and amazing weather. What made my time in Kauai so significant and so difficult to leave behind was the family connection. The extended time and constant access I enjoyed with the people I love most.
That’s what made it paradise. Our pace was slowed and our attention was focused on our most cherished relationships. That’s what made it such a gift.
Several years ago I had a pastor encourage me to not look at spiritual disciplines as tasks on my to-do list, but rather as gifts from God. And the reason they are gifts is because they give us extended time and constant access to the one who loves us most. We have the privilege to slow our pace and focus our attention on Almighty God, our Father in Heaven.
Talking to our sweet Lord in prayer is not a task. Any more than sipping a cup of Kona coffee while watching the sunrise over the palm trees was a task. Reading about the goodness and promises of God is not a chore. Any more than hiking to Waipo’o Falls and taking a million selfies at the top was a chore.
(Side note: It takes effort to get up at sunrise. It takes effort to summit a cliff for spectacular views. And it takes effort to pray and read the Bible sometimes. But we do it because it’s worth it.).
A new year is here, ready or not. And a new opportunity to be connected to Christ and community through the rhythms of our regular, ordinary lives. These things are absolutely not tasks. They are actually the greatest gifts we could possess while on this planet. Let’s pray for eyes to see the daily delight that can be found through slowing down and focusing our attention heavenward.