Vacation Unplugged

Last week I went on vacation with the family. Taylor, our kids, my parents, my sister, and I all loaded up in two cars and went to Disney for a vacation. It was incredible! There was laughs, tears from laughing to hard, memories, and love flooding our week. And if we are being honest, it was the first vacation I have really ever taken with Taylor since we got married.

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Do not get me wrong, Taylor and I had taken numerous trips to places in our now 4 years of marriage (I cannot believe it has been 4 years!). But this was the first time I really took a vacation, and if we are being honest, I was TERRIFIED…

You see, Taylor and I got married at 19 while I was still in school. When I graduated in 2016 at 22, I immediately began continuing my education in the form of a Masters of Divinity. At the end of that summer, I was hired into my first full-time ministry job at Court Drive Church of Christ as the youth minister. Before this, I had other jobs as well to help provide, so our whole marriage I have been in school and working.

Every trip we had ever taken, I had school work to do or things for my job which I had to work on while we were gone. From our week long trip to Florida in the summer of 2016, to Mississippi in 2017, and our trips before that. Never once had I just gone and vacationed.

So I was terrified at the thought of vacationing. What if something came up and I was gone and had to try to work on it from Disney? Then, the most incredible thing happened the day before we left.

But first, let me rewind…

On Christmas Day, my phone shocked my through the earpiece and had not been working properly since. So the day before we left for vacation, about a week later, I took my phone to the Apple store which I expected to be a quick fix like that last time my phone had a short circuit.

But the Apple store employees freaked…

Apparently that is super dangerous. When I told them this, they immediately got me a new phone and prepared my old one to be sent off for investigation and testing at their headquarters. I had phones repaired before and each time I would be responsible and back my phone up, but it was never necessary. This time I thought nothing of it and took it in without backing it up. So with my laptop in Palestine, which had my latest backup from a month before on it, I went on vacation…

I went on vacation with a phone without ANYTHING on it!

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I downloaded social media in order to post a couple of pictures and a sappy “Happy Anniversary” post to my wife, as our 4 year wedding anniversary was during our trip. But I had no emails on my phone.

I vacationed UNPLUGGED…

And it was AMAZING!

We had the most incredible time, and the only thing I did “work related” was put in an order for pizzas so I could pay over the phone and text one of my leaders to pick it up for me.

I didn’t bring anything ministry-related or school-related with for the first time ever. I brought some leisure readings for when I was still awake and Taylor and the kids were asleep, but that was it. I unplugged and I rested. I took a Sabbath, as God did and Jesus as well.

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My fear of being needed on vacation was relieved because I was actually unplugged and truly did vacation.

This brings me to my point of writing this. We need rest. We need to unplug and get away. Time with family is important, but a vacation is not a vacation when we are all road-tripping across the country to isolate ourselves on our phones. When I came back to church and my office, I felt rejuvenated and full of energy and ideas. But while I was there, I spent time with my family and loved them.

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What are we doing to rest?

If resting was important enough for God to do at the end of creating everything, why do we not rest? Our culture says keep doing something. Feel like nothing is going on? Look at your phone and INSTANTLY connect to the world and everything that is going on. How do we unplug and rest?

We rest in more ways than just going on vacation. We rest when we do things which refresh us, and I do not mean by refreshing our news feed. Literal rest is good, but so are doing things which help us be restored. For me, reading is a refreshing and enjoyable task I do to replenish, as well as spending time with my wife and family. So what do you to to refresh and rest?

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My challenge would be to find personal time daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to rest and refresh yourself and your family. Setting aside time to unplug from technology and actually interact with our families, as well as some selfish time for us. Because we can all burnout on the way things are going if we are not resting.

And finally, you know that the Lord offers us rest. He tells us to come to him and find rest in him. So take him up on that. Pray that he lifts your burdens and walk along with him in what you are facing. Find rest, Sabbath, and refresh your lives.

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I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,

Josh Gentry

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