Community Brings Perspective

Perspective comes in community.

Left to myself I can only create a one-dimensional view of the world.  Add another person and suddenly I start to get depth perception and perspective.

Growing up my family regularly drove long distances together overnight and thought nothing of it.  My mom made curtains for the car and as we rolled across the Tennessee line headed south from Ohio early in the morning we would change clothes.  We counted cars and read books and slept in between the suitcases in a day before child safety seats.

I have now met several people for whom trips like that create anxiety and sleep deprivation.  What I took for granted I now realize was somewhat unusual.  Many families are not comfortable travelling long distances in a car for 20 plus hours at a time.

Left to myself I would have stayed in a one-dimensional world.  Left to myself I would arrogantly assume that everyone sees things just like I do.

Now, in community, I suddenly begin to see a world of different perspectives.  When James the brother of Jesus says we should be “Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” he is helping us maintain a guardrail against selfish and one-dimensional thinking.

In what part of your life are you clinging to a one-dimensional view of the world, and who can help you gain perspective in that area of your life?

Remaining Connected with God While You Are on Vacation

Last night I returned from a weekend trip with my family.  We spent the weekend at Virginia Beach celebrating my mom and dad’s 50th anniversary.  Incidentally, that is the reason I did not post on Monday.

Vacations and reunions are fun times of catching up on family happenings, laughing over favorite stories, and playing and eating to together.  We all need these times, and I am very grateful for the time we had this past weekend.  It was too short!

But why is it so hard to remain to connected and in tune with God when I am on vacation?  Just because I am going on vacation should not mean that I go on vacation from speaking with God.  Last time I checked vacation did not enable me to suddenly and miraculously live well without God’s help.  Last time I checked I still do and say stupid things when I am on vacation.

I imagine I am less connected with God on vacations because of one main reason.

On vacations I have a limited amount of time to hang with my family.  The goal of vacation, after all, is to cram in as much connection with your family as possible, knowing we will not have the same opportunity again for a while.  Stopping and setting aside time to be with God requires me to act in contrary motion with that goal.

When I take time for myself and God I feel like I am taking time away from my family.  To put it bluntly, I feel guilty.

Despite what I may feel, however, God is my most important resource and friend.  When I spend time in his presence I am refreshed and am better able to enjoy the time I do have with family.  I am also better equipped to give to my family, whereas when I do not spend time with God I am more likely to take things personally, be emotionally spent, or simply say things I should not.

This past weekend was a wonderful time with family, but I was only moderately successful at staying close to God.  How can improve my next trip?

  • I need to set aside 30 minutes a day for me to spend with God.
  • I need to not feel guilty about being away from my family, knowing that this 30 minutes will refresh and strengthen me for the day.

How about you?  How do you remain focused and reliant on God when you are on vacation?