Running on empty?

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:1-2 NIV).

Summer is here. School is out. Now what?

What we feel like doing is getting away from everything.

We say to ourselves, “Perhaps if we just escaped for a week or two, we could refuel and be ready to return to work with a full tank.”

With the goal of escaping and refueling in our minds we head to the beach or mountains and exhaust ourselves further with driving, chasing the kids, spending money, and trying to uncoil that tight feeling in our souls. We often return from these so-called “vacations” feeling more exhausted and empty than before. Some of us have to get back to work just to get some rest!

We’re so used to living life in the fast lane with our gas pedal pressed to the floor that we don’t know how to let up. Even our vacations look like work!

Is there a better way? Is there a way of life that is more balanced between work and rest?

The Bible says there is. The Psalmist said that there is a certain “vanity” in rising early and staying up late to toil in your own strength. There is an emptiness and a futility that comes over us when we build a life without the Lord’s help.

Some good diagnostic questions are implied by Psalm 127. “Do you feel so tired that you can’t even sleep? Do you feel like you’re working, but nothing is being accomplished. Does life feel like a constant treadmill?” Then, perhaps you’re doing all the work in your own strength. Perhaps you’re building a life that excludes the Builder… God.

When we work in the strength of the Lord, when we receive His supply and direction, we will experience the real rest that He gives to those He loves.

This doesn’t mean we stop working. It means that we learn to let the Lord lead us to work and rest according to His direction and power.

So let’s enjoy our vacations. But a vacation won’t be enough to “refuel” our tanks. We must learn to lean on the Lord. Otherwise, not only will all our work be in vain, but all our “vacations” will be too.

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