Togetherness, Togetherness, and More Togetherness

My Dad left this comment on Thursday’s blog (Designed For Rest) and I wanted to share it with you because it is so good:
“Tracy, I am so glad that you are dealing with this subject. Everywhere we go to minister, we find people exhausted, on the point of burnout and, most importantly, weariness and with it physical and emotional weakness that brings vulnerability to the temptations of the enemy. Many problems with lust, impatience, irritability, anxiety and a host of other weaknesses can be directly linked to not having adequate rest. Keep plowing this ground because the ‘work ethic’ of many people and their failure to take vacations is not based in faith but fear! Great blog. Love, Dad”

Thank you so much for the great insight Dad! I think many of us are afraid to let ourselves rest. We are afraid everything will fall apart without us, or afraid that we won’t have enough money if we stop, or we are afraid of what people will think. Some of us are even afraid of what we might have to face if we stop our frantic pace, like a family in disarray, or a job going nowhere, or how disconnected we have become from ourselves and from the people we love.

Matt and I have some friends who when they were first married hardly ever saw each other. She worked evenings and nights and he worked days. Most days they would see each other for only 30 minutes to an hour and then they would get one day on the weekend. They used to say to us that this schedule was actually good for them because on the day they had together they would usually fight. They said that they thought they were a couple that worked best with lots of individual space. Matt and I would always just shake our heads because we couldn’t imagine living that way.

Well, after about a year of this pace, she finally took a different job and they started keeping the same schedule. At first they fought a lot and had a lot of conflict simply because they weren’t used to each other and actually didn’t know each other any more. But after a few months of spending lots of time together they then told us that they couldn’t imagine NOT being together all the time. They had fallen in love all over again, hardly ever fought, and loved being together. They had no idea how they had ever done it the other way.

I bring this example up because this is how many of us feel about our kids and our families. We go on a vacation and come home feeling like we need a vacation from our spouse, our children, and all of our family. However, the truth is, you didn’t actually have too much time with your family, you are actually spending too little time with your family. I think this dynamic is especially prevalent with Dad’s who only get to see their kids for such a short time each day because of work. Weekends with the kids completely wear them out, and many are actually relieved to get to go back to work on Monday. However, what they really need is MORE time with their children to get to know them, to understand what is going on in their little minds, and to become a part of their kid’s routine, rather than just an outside observer.

This also happens with many working Mom’s. I have had many Mom’s say to me, “I just can’t imagine staying home with my children all day. I would go crazy. I just need a break from them. I need to work.” I always smile at this because most of these Mom’s have never not worked. If you are always looking for an escape, then you will never be able to relax and enjoy where you are. I think if they would actually spend the time getting into a routine with their children and spending more time with them, they would discover that they actually enjoy their children, and wouldn’t be so desperate for a break from them. I am not saying that they shouldn’t work, but I do have a problem in working as an escape from your children. Work because it is what God has for you and your family, not because you are afraid to be home with your kids.

It is amazing how family relationships grow on vacation and with quality time together. For that matter, it is amazing how your children grow on vacation. My kids seem to get taller, smarter, and just bloom on vacation. I think it is the level of personal attention that they get from us. It just connects us all. That quality time also tends to also expose areas of weakness that need to be worked on. When we are so busy in our daily lives we can miss the rebellion simmering in our teenager, or the disconnect that is happening in our marriage, or the disobedience that we have been tolerating from our three year old. We can even miss what has been happening in our own heart. Vacation can bring all this to light and you can come home and want to go back into escape mode, or you can realize that what you actually need is MORE time together and not less. You need more time getting in your children’s world. You and your spouse need more time just talking and remembering what you love about each other. Relationship is one of the very most important things in your life, and sometimes the best investment into your relationships is a vacation.