The Mathematics of Rest

Later this week the family and I head out on vacation. The intent is to get away from the “normal pace of life,” be a family and rest. We need the break. We all have been pushing it pretty head in the last season of life (work, school and teaching).

The problem is a lot of the time the work that goes into planning and pulling off a vacation is greater than the normal pace of life.  By the time we get a vacation planned and prepped, we need a vacation! Scheduling dates, buttoning up work so you can be gone, the financial costs, arranging an itinerary, coordination with people to see, setting a menu, packing, traveling, blah, blah,blah.  Been there?

The other problem lies in the vacations we plan. They can be so crazy, packed and full that they are not restful.  Too many places to go, too many sights to see, too many people to meet, too many miles to travel. Too many of too many things.

But as I plan for vacation, I had a thought: If the work of getting ready to rest is more than the rest I will achieve, I will not rest (ever).  Look at it this way:

w>r ≠ r.

So, in order to rest, the work for rest has to be less than the actual rest it creates. Or the rest has to exceed the work put into resting:


Here is how I am going to solve for rest:

  • I have altered my preaching schedule so I not only get a week off, but I also don’t have to worry about what I am going to preach when I get back.
  • I will turn on the “Out of Office” assistance on my email.
  • I will not check email or Facebook on my phone.
  • I will take with me books I want to read, not ones I need to read.
  • I will remember we are forming memories the boys will look back on for the rest of there lives.
  • I have planned to wrap up those nagging things on my to-do list (health insurance renewal, follow up on policy manual distribution, review TNL Anniversary and Fall teaching series, buy office copier, etc.)
  • I will leave instructions for my co-pastors on how to do what I do.
  • I will leave my computer in my office.
  • I will remind myself to relax and be flexible with the boys, the van and tent (we are camping).

This may sound like work and it is. But if I have planned for this vacation well (and remember to breath deeply), my work will not overshadow the rest I am wanting and needing.


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