Vacation. Yahoo. It’s a time when the “coulds” are allowed to win over some of the “shoulds”. I probably should have run to the store early this morning to get groceries. I probably should have already emptied the dishwasher and started laundry from our trip. But I could take my time, because I really don’t have to be anywhere till 4:00 or so. And the choice of eating biscotti for breakfast is definitely a “could” that is winning over a “should”.
I’m so thankful for the quiet that comes in the days after Christmas. It’s the cleaning up time. It’s the clearing out and putting away and being thankful for what was time, but looking forward to what will be. It’s a gift of space and time and freedom that is often lacking in the daily routine of the rest of the year. But here’s the thing. I want to be sure that this respite is really a time of filling up…not just vacant space that gets wasted…like a vacuum that is filled by default rather than on purpose. I’ve gotten especially good at wasting time these past few years…and it takes being intentional to not live by default….to not just passively let the days fly on by without intentionally filling them with good things.
So, I am really talking to myself here. I am choosing to be intentional – to write the lists and goals as guidelines for purposely filling my days with things that build up, strengthen and encourage me, my family, my friends, my little vacuum of a world. Little patterns become balls-and-chains or…patterns become keys to purposeful life. I’m reminding myself to choose wisely.
And I’m thinking that it’s not about being a drill sergeant over my life that rigidly plans and controls every area. No, it’s just the opposite. Of course, there needs to be a plan, a structure, some direction and goals. But, I think if we’re filling up the right things in our minds, our hearts, our bodies, that oftentimes, there’s a natural outpouring that freely flows from us and directs us rather than constantly sticking to a regimented path that we can’t deter from. I think the key to that is the filling up that comes with prayer and meditation and a commitment to the One who would direct our paths in an adventure that is beyond what we can imagine.
Isn’t it funny that vacation, vacancy, and vacuum all have the same beginning? The Latin root ‘vac’ means empty. Empty things get filled. Vacations are a gift of ’empty’…that get filled with something. I’m thinking that there’s so much freedom there with what we fill our vac- with….that your space will look so different than my space. That your vacuum of sorts will be filled with different things than mine. That the life that flows out of you will be so beautifully unique and different than that which flows out of me. For we are uniquely designed by an artist whose world is the canvas…and who allows each of us the choice to make it more beautiful, or not. We get to choose so much of what we invite to fill the empty spaces of our lives.
Yes, we have choice. With what we allow to fill the empty spaces of our hearts and minds. We have choices with how we fill our time…our minutes, our days, our years. And I’m thinking that there are some basics that fuel us…good things that give us hope and help us become gifts to our little spaces in the world. And there are things that rob us and others of things that could have been. I want the freedom of “coulds” to not deter what could have been something beautiful. So that’s kind of a measurement…a guideline for me…to have freedom to sometimes choose ‘coulds’ over ‘shoulds’, but not when it changes the path. I don’t know if you’re with me or not, but the whole could should thing is helping me a bit on this vacation of mine. To allow myself freedom and space and time and the gift to indulge a bit, but to be sure that that freedom doesn’t become a road block, or a ball and chain that ends up taking away rather than giving.
So, I’m gonna eat my biscotti for breakfast (in bed no less!), and enjoy every minute of it. I’m gonna seek out friends and family and try to get some things done. I’m so thankful for time and space and want to look back knowing that it wasn’t just a time that got filled up, but a time when things were built up in a good way. Praying so. And more than anything, I’m so thankful for the freedom in Christ that frees from the tyranny of constant ‘shoulds’ and helps us live by grace. Grace to forgive and build up and see things with new eyes. Grace that loves well and doesn’t condemn. Grace that is thankful for each day, filled or rigidly scheduled or not. I’m so thankful for grace that changes the lens of how we see things and how we live. And yes, I’m thankful for the freedom of ‘coulds’ that allows us to eat biscotti for breakfast without reservation.
I might even go get another piece.
Grace and Blessings to You and Yours~
…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:9
“…His Loving Kindness leads us to repentance.” Romans 2:4
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17