Inspirational

My Sacred Vacation

By Joe Gregory 

As we transition into fall from summer and the seasons change, it is a perfect time to reflect on our lives. Like the young student returning to school, I too have been given the assignment of relating the experience of my summer vacation. The difference is I am 48 and I am in a school of different sorts, the school of life. My vacation this year was very different from past years, much longer then usual and completely unplanned. You see I was laid off from my job so I am actually on an extended, temporary vacation. I know that like all vacations, it will come to an end.  

I have decided to refer to this endless summer as my “sacred vacation.”   That’s how I choose to see it. Yes it’s an unreasonable approach, and I can hear people saying, “Extended vacation! Sacred vacation! That’s nuts! You don’t have a job!” That’s true, but what I do have is peace of mind and an inner knowing that all is well, regardless of any appearances to the contrary. And at the end of the day, what else matters? 

There are millions of people out of work right now. Maybe you’re one of them. There are many millions more who are employed but filled with fear, worry and concern, living, as Thoreau said, “lives of quiet desperation.” Perhaps you fall into this category. I am suggesting a different approach. I’ve chosen to spend this brief interlude in my life differently then most. I have chosen faith over fear. I am not frantically (fear-based) looking for a job. I am not sitting around feeling sorry for myself, like a victim, although I would appear to have good reasons to considering my father died shortly after losing my job. I am not getting together with friends and complaining about how bad things are and how much my life stinks. I am not watching the news and I am not “disasterizing”- anticipating and fearing the worst. Nope, as crazy as it sounds, I am actually enjoying myself. I am open to new opportunities in my life, whatever they may look like.  

Do I have my moments of doubt and fear? Of course. But the lessons I’ve learned from my scared vacation keep me grounded. Here are five principles to live by in changing times: 

1.  Put all your eggs in the right basket

Common sense investing says to spread your risk and diversify. But when it comes to investing in your life, I say put all your eggs in one basket, the right basket- God. You see most people are putting all their eggs in one basket, the wrong basket- fear. Ernest Holmes said, “there’s a power for good in the universe and we can use it.” I call this power God. Call it whatever you want but know it is there for you. I’ve chosen to appoint God as my Senior Partner overseeing all of my affairs. I’ve shifted all my burdens to Him and I now relax knowing that everything is being handled perfectly. This doesn’t excuse me from taking action, but now I act from a different source.

By putting all my eggs in the right basket, I take counsel from my Senior Partner. Proverbs (21:30) reminds us, “there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel like that of the Lord.” Just say “no” to the mass media, to well intentioned friends and family, to the so called “experts.” There is only one expert- God.  

In my opinion, the highest form of action is prayer, meditation and contemplation (to learn more about these I suggest reading The Dynamic Laws of Prayer by Catherine Ponder). Scripture tells us to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” Sit quietly and realize God’s presence. In this sacred space, remember the truth of who you are: a child of God, created in the image and likeness of God. Understand that our only problem is our sense of separation from God. We’ve forgotten who we are. Hence, the only solution is to unify with God. Make the presence of God your top priority. Have a daily practice of prayer and mediation. And put all your eggs in God’s basket. 

2.      Shift your perspective

Once you’ve put all your eggs in the right basket, realizing the presence of God, appointing God as your Senior Partner, and remembering who you are, your perspective changes automatically. You’ve shifted from fear to faith, or what I refer to as “scared to sacred.” Now you see your world differently. You become comfortable with the unknown. You trust even though you don’t know what it may look like. The truth is it has always been unknown. And always will be. But with your change in perspective, this no longer matters. You trust that it’s all working perfectly. Of course it is- you have your Senior Partner in charge. Scripture says, “In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths,” (Proverbs 3:6) and “Trust in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) Rest in the knowing of these truths.  

Another way to shift your perspective is to consult your future self. We’ve all had experiences in our life that appeared to be bad while happening but, with the greater perspective of time, what happened actually was for our benefit. So project yourself out five to ten years and ask your future self about what’s happening currently. You’ll probably hear a chuckle and some advice like, “relax, this too shall pass, it’s only temporary, you have no idea how much good is coming, all is well.”  

As the saying goes, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Shift your perspective. “See” with new vision. Move from fear to faith. View this as “sacred” time versus “scared” time.  

3.      Grow

When times are changing, as they always are, like it or not, we need to change as well. And we change by growing and we grow by learning. I’ve used my “vacation” time to learn and grow in major ways. I’ve taken classes, attended lectures and seminars, and I’ve joined Toastmasters. I have also immersed myself in self-study, reading books on personal growth, biographies and The Bible. I’ve also gained wisdom through conversations with people who are happy, peaceful and excited about life, living on purpose (yes, there are people out there like that). I also attend a United Centers for Spiritual Living every Sunday, providing me growth in a community of like-minded people.  

So shut off the television. Shut out the negativity. Choose to use this time wisely, for your own personal growth. It’s been said that, “if you’re not growing, you are dying.” The choice is yours. 

4.      Just say “yes”!

This principles starts with saying “yes” to putting all your eggs in the right basket; saying “yes” to shifting your perspective and saying “yes” to your own personal growth. This “yes” principle also involves saying “yes” to life, where you acknowledge “what is” instead of fighting against it, knowing it’s only temporary. That doesn’t mean you resign from life; it means you accept what’s happening while implementing these principles. Then watch “what is” change before you. 

Saying “yes” also involves action but it is acting on inspiration, which is God-based, rather then motivation, which is ego-based. Allow Spirit to direct you. Act on your intuition, that “nudge” from your Senior Partner. Follow inspiration in your job search. Too many people are acting from desperation, which is based in fear. Invite God into your decision making process. 

Say “yes” to the reasonable requests that are made of you. Be in service to others. Get involved at your church or in a community service organization. Say “yes” to invitations and interviews. By saying “yes” you are saying “yes” to God who is guiding and directing you. This opens you to all possibilities.  

Lastly, say “yes” to exercise. Get up and move your body. It’s almost impossible to be physically active and fearful at the same time. So get moving. Take a walk. Dance. Go to the gym. Swim. Ride a bike. Personally, I enjoy Tae Kwon Do and walking the dog.  

Affirm: “I say ‘yes’ to life and life says ‘yes’ to me.” 

5.      Play

Contrary to popular belief, life is not meant to be a struggle. Yes, there are challenges- for everyone- but, during this sacred time off, or even if you are working, allow yourself to play. Playing is expressing the joy of God. So many are paralyzed with fear and fun is no where to be found. Yes, do what God is directing you to do to find a new opportunity or to do your current job well. Also know that “fun” is far more attractive then “fear” so you’re actually helping yourself in many ways by playing.  

I know, I know, I hear you: “But I feel guilty if I am playing and having fun while I don’t have a job (or while fearful of losing your job).” Ask God if it is okay to play and have fun. The answer: of course! Then consult your future self. My future self tells me to relax, have fun, everything is working out just fine. Apply these principles and enjoy yourself. Some time in the not too distant future millions of people will look back on this period and think, “I should have done a lot less worrying and a lot more playing. I wasted so much time.” So choose fun over fear. And it doesn’t have to cost anything. Take your kids to the park. Play with your dog. Watch a funny movie. Turn up some music and dance. Take a class for fun.  

So honor God and play. Best of all, while you’re playing, your Senior Partner is hard at work on your behalf, orchestrating events and circumstances to your benefit.  

This is how I’ve chosen to live my sacred vacation. It’s an unreasonable approach but it has worked for me as evidenced by my fruits of happiness and peace of mind. Yes I’ve been diligent in pursuing new opportunities and good things are happening. More importantly, I’ve been diligent in applying these principles. If you’re sick and tied of living in fear, of constantly being worried and unhappy, maybe a new approach to life is in order. Try this on for size. See how it fits for you. Do it for 40 days and see how you feel. Heck you’re going to live the next 40 days anyways so you might as well do it deliberately. Choose to do so right now. Decide to: 

  • Put all your eggs in the right basket
  • Shift your perspective
  • Grow
  • Just say “yes”!
  • Play!

Joe can be reached at joegregory@q.com or 303-345-5370

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