springbreakThis past week my family and I traveled to Fort Walton Beach for a few days of much needed relaxation and family time. Prior to leaving town, I hesitated telling anyone our spring break plans. It’s crazy how I almost felt guilty, even spoiled, for being able to go on this trip. But I went. Now I’m home. And there’s no way I can “take back” having experienced this amazing time of respite.

I’m an early-riser when it comes to life on the beach. I absolutely love getting up with the sun (and my dad) and taking in all I can of God’s handiwork from our condo’s balcony. This past Monday morning was almost more than I could bear. It was as if my heart of gratitude was on the brink of explosion. It was one of those “icing-on-the-cake” moments of immeasurable blessing that tend to overwhelm us from time to time.

Surely you can relate. Perhaps you’ve been there … to a moment in which you have felt as if one more nudge of God’s goodness would “send you over” the precipice of blessing. Maybe it was the first few seconds you held your newborn baby, finding him or her to be seemingly perfect in every way. It could have been those magical moments as you stood at the altar, verbally joining yourself as one flesh to the man of your dreams.. Or maybe it was the Sunday morning you sat among your family as your grandchild was baptized, professing his/her faith in Christ. I’m sure these pinnacle experiences of blessings vary for each of us; but I’m also certain that we all have encountered those moments when we are engulfed by the intensity of God’s favor upon us. Such was my quiet time Monday morning.

I was mesmerized by the setting. The emerald tide was rolling ashore. The snow-white beach was as pristine as I had ever seen it. The music of the gulls seemed to be lulling me into a peaceful paradise. My loved ones – including my 90-year-old little Granny – were all sweetly sleeping inside the glass doors behind me. And as the psalmist David proclaimed, although no words were being spoken, the glory of God was being declared all around me. (Ps. 19:1-3)

We hear all of the time of the negative impact that stress has upon our lives. Researchers claim that our wellness is significantly damaged by our exposure to a fast-paced, demanding, hectic lifestyle. Well, if the experts findings are true (which I believe they are), then there must be a counter-effect of such harms when we take the time to remove ourselves from the hassles of life and push our lives’ “pause” buttons. It’s a must! We must prioritize stillness, inactivity, and escapes from the daily responsibilities of life. This discipline goes against society’s norm. Our culture tells us to work relentlessly, multi-task continuously, maximize each second with productivity, and “whatever you do, don’t stop!” But, my friend, I’m convinced otherwise. The few days that I spent unplugged, unobligated, and unhurried during Spring Break 2015 added to my life.

Our Maker prescribes rest for us. The cheer that comes from society is “Go! Go! Go!” but Mankind’s Manufacturer Handbook (the Bible) contains a different message. Yes, as believers we are to be advocates for hard-work and endurance, but we are also to value and heed the admonition of Psalms 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

How about it, friend? Do you need a “breather,” a pause, if you will? There’s no doubt that a four-day trip to the beach is ideal for a time of renewal, but I’ve also experienced those same Divinely-magical moments with the Lord in more common settings – reclining on a rusty, dilapidated lawn chair in our backyard, and snuggling beneath a quilt on our front porch’s swing. The time of wonder awaits us.

Let’s join together in committing to observe a bit of stillness and serenity. I truly believe that our Creator is a “God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (I Tim. 6:17), and if we mindfully schedule and observe balcony moments with the Lord, we will certainly witness the glory of the Lord and be renewed.