I Went On Vacation
by Tamara Lombard
I had been on vacation. I had been on vacation for a long time. I didn’t even realize how long it had been until one day I looked up and things had changed.
A lot had happened while I was away. We got a new President. Social media went crazy. Protests were popping up everywhere. Everyone was angry and scared. I began drinking a lot of coffee. I started indulging in any holiday excuse for a cocktail. I stopped exercising and increased in my hours on the couch watching television. I stayed glued to negative reports on CNN and any other 24-hour news broadcast of current events. My book that needed another round of editing sat untouched. My blog posts came to a complete stop. After the great miraculous weight loss, I received a few years past, my favorite skinny jeans had become two sizes too small. The new music I listened to had no uplifting effect on me as I just flipped past the Christian TV and radio stations. My time with God was like a drive by; just putting in my time not allowing the any of the words or it’s meaning fill me in any way.
Current events became my focus. I wanted to do something, but somehow my calling didn’t seem that important in the full scheme of what our country was facing. I had no answers, but I wanted to do something. I examined different issues to see where I could fit in. As a child, I remember telling my mom I wanted to grow up and save the world. I wanted to make a difference. Here we are in the worst times I can remember and I am lost. What can I do? Where do I start? But something wasn’t right. Something wasn’t right with me.
I found myself spending more time in prayer, but not as I used to. My requests became about me asking God to tell me what to do. Where do I fit? What does he want me to do? This went on night after night, week after week, month after month. I became angry and then bitter. You see, God had changed me into a different person. He made me a better person and I was ready to work. I was ready to pull up my sleeves and get to work for making things better. Finding a cause that I could sink my teeth into. But I received nothing. Silence. I knew this routine. I had gone through many seasons of the silent treatment while I was in the wilderness. I knew all about change in the wilderness. I knew it well. But this made no sense. I was ready. I was watching the news. I was reading all about it. I was aware of the needs and how we need to be part of the change we wish to see. I knew all about it, so why wasn’t God opening doors for me?
Then things began to shift. I started waking up at 3 or 4 am. For a while I ignored it. Then I started to pay attention that this was intentional. God was trying to get My attention. So, after a week of this and my sleep getting all messed up, I stayed awake to listen. Would Jesus speak to me now? I knew from experience that when he wants to speak, we need to be quiet and not do all the talking, which is what I did often. So I stayed quiet. Still nothing. Again, this went on a few nights. I had no idea what this was all about but I went with it. Then one night of being awakened, not knowing what to pray for, I prayed in the spirit. I knew the Lord would sometimes speak a message or give me a vision while I’m praying in the spirit. But this time he didn’t. I knew it was still important for me to get up and acknowledge his beckoning me. Finally, I got a word. “Obedience.” I knew that message well. It came back.
Sometimes we think a small disobedience is no big deal. That was my thinking. A cup of coffee here, a small drink there, pie, cake, candy… No big deal, right? It’s different for everyone. For me, I was told to stop drinking coffee, stop drinking alcohol, stop eating sweets and dairy for my health. And I did stop. For a long time. But, I let my frustration and emotions get to me and I did what I wanted. I took all my attention off of what I was already doing. I got upset because things weren’t moving as I wanted. I got upset because I thought I had wasted all this time when I could have been doing something else. I questioned if I ever heard from God.
I was on vacation.
I noticed my attitude toward people had changed, and not for the better. I was creeping back to my old ways, my old way of thinking. Those were months of negativity. The schemes, conspiracy theories, lies, suspicion, rage and prejudice, all from the media. I had my nose in it all. After some time it took a toll on my spirit. I was starting to act on it in my thoughts. My conversations had changed. My optimism was fading. My compassion for people was turning to skepticism. I was not myself. I hated what was happening to me. A light I had was overshadowed by the looming darkness that was trying to find a home in me.
Vacation was over.
I didn’t like what was happening to me. I didn’t like my thoughts. I didn’t like the things I would say, even in joking to my family. I was reverting back to becoming rude. I woke up. I didn’t want to go backward and lose all good I had gained. But how did it happen? How did it slip into my life?
After everything I had been through to change, how did it slip in? Disobedience.
Yes. It seems so small and inconsequential, but it’s true. Being purposely disobedient is a sin against God. It doesn’t mean he stops loving you. It doesn’t mean he will leave you. But you put the distance there when you disobey what he has told you to do. He will let you fall until you get it. I went far. Most people don’t, but I did. I knew he was telling me to stop drinking coffee. I knew it was bad for me. Last year he told me to focus on my health and fitness. But I didn’t. I thought, “that’s not a big deal. Why would God tell me to focus on that when there is so much more to focus on.” Well, that attitude led me to disobedience. Here I am, body hurting, joints in pain, weight gain and I have to work more at getting back in shape.
It didn’t have to be this way. My body responds negatively to coffee, even decaf. It’s bad on my joints and hard on my spine. Alcohol makes me depressed. Not at first, but after a few days of the drink, it hits and it lasts for a week. And the depression is severe. I didn’t know that was what caused my depression but when I realized it, I could see the pain it caused my life. Damaged relationships and many other areas of my life were affected by my drinking and depression cycles. Sugar hurt my liver. I could actually feel it swell. Dairy not only put on the weight, it also gave me sinus and breathing problems. Salt, high blood pressure. All this but I ignored it. I was doing pretty good last year when the Lord warned me to take care of my health and focus on it. And I see why he warned me. I was to be mindful so I wouldn’t do what I did. But I did.
One step of disobedience will lead to another a lot easier than we think. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but he does expect us to do our best. I wasn’t and I knew it. It’s kind of like the kid who thinks they can get away with a small thing. Then they do another thing until he/she gets caught.
Back from vacation.
Like anytime you return from vacation, you get back to work. You’re focused. You’re clear. You see the picture. I realized what God had planned for me all along was exactly what I was already doing. I am doing my part for the Kingdom that he wants to reach through my work he equipped me to do. I don’t need to go off searching how to fit in what I think others say or believe. It’s all about God’s plan for me, for you, for his people. He has a perfectly fitted plan and purpose for each one of us. We are equipped for that job, whatever that is. He will put us in those circles and communities that are best suited for us. It’s okay to explore those other parts of you. Such as art, writing, cooking, teaching, music, singing, whatever is your interest. It’s fun, It’s part of who you are. Just come back to God and know he has the best plan for your life. There is no need to wonder if it’s important enough. If he called you to do it, it’s more than enough.
I’m back listening to my spirit filled music, less time on the couch and better TV shows. Less time on social media, more positive reading and much more intimate time with Jesus. The darkness is gone and God’s light is ever bright. Thank you, Jesus!