Practicing What We Preach by Pastor Eric Case
Not to brag or anything, but I spent last week on the beach. My family has a summer vacation tradition, and each summer we meet in North Carolina for a week of basically hanging out and doing very, very little besides eating, reading, talking and being together. My parents, my sister and her family come down from Virginia, and we drive up from Tallahassee. North Carolina has always been our traditional meeting place because it’s almost in the middle and my mother is actually from there, so we have extended family there as well. This year was special because we’ve actually skipped the past three years due to weddings and changing schedules as our kids get older and go away to college and then enter the work force. We managed to coordinate (mostly) everyone’s schedule and come together.
I enjoyed the week also as an opportunity to put into practice some of the things we’ve been talking about on Sunday during this “Endless Summer” series. I took time to unplug from the world, and pretty much set aside my laptop all week. I went for a couple of runs while I was there, and I took regular naps. I basically focused on being present with my family, and resisted the temptation to think about the pile of work and the seemingly endless “To Do” lists that were waiting for me back in Tallahassee. And I was available for my “connection” time. We ate dinner together every night (with revolving cooking and cleaning responsibilities), and each night we took the opportunity to pray together, as well as to take some time to share what we were grateful for that day (we call this last discipline, “The Bowl of Joy”, and maybe I’ll tell you more about it sometime).
As our week came to a close (because they always do), I was struck by how peaceful and clear my mind was. This was what vacation, and *true rest* was supposed to feel like. I know that the “whirlwind” of ministry needs and organizational requirements was waiting for me when I rolled into Tallahassee and E3 (I got into town last Saturday night, and actually snuck into E3 at 5:45AM on Sunday, just to check on the “whirlwind”, even though I was technically still on vacation). The end result was, for me, that this stuff actually works. I feel rested and refueled (even if I occasionally have a sleep-deprived night or an exhausting day), and ready to run the next leg of the race. There’s a lot going on around here over the next 6 weeks or so, and I’m going to try and be at my best for it all.