This summer I had an 11-week vacation. Eleven weeks of no planes, conference calls or meetings. The alarm clock also took a break. I stayed up late, watched movies, read books or just goofed around with my boys. We spent four of those weeks on a 6,000 mile road trip. We went to Saskatchewan to celebrate my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary. The boys learned to drive farm trucks, tractors, a combine or two and jet skis. We had close encounters with really big bears and swam in cold northern lakes. Stories were shared around the campfire; we hung out with friends and got reacquainted as a family.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I began to relax.
But eventually, the 11 week vacation came to an end. August 15th to be exact. And I am glad to be back at work. What I do has meaning and makes a real difference.
In spite of all this, I still managed to figure out a way to get stressed. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware how stressed I was until about three weeks into the vacation. I remember the day I figured it out. It was a Wednesday morning. I woke up refreshed and without a headache. It was amazing.
Living with stress and low grade headaches is not fun. It makes a person (me) grumpy and irritable.
As I have stepped back into the working world, one question in particular keeps haunting me – is it possible to live better and healthier? I have come to believe that the answer has to be yes. After all, it was Jesus who talked about the abundant life in John 10:10.
There I was, the director of a national ministry, and somehow, over a period of 16 years, my life had become less about living well and more about doing the job and being political. I spent less time thinking about ministry and more thinking about management. None of these changes where bad or wrong individually, but the cumulative effect was devastating. The slide from abundance to stress happened slowly, almost seductively.
Now, on the other side of an 11-week break, I want to live better; be a better father, friend, husband and boss.
To be honest, I am still trying to figure out what all this means. I am convinced that following Jesus needs to much less about stress and more about living abundantly. I need to focus less on management and more on caring.