Best Thing…Hardest Thing

I’ve got one of the best things in my life happening in the next few days, and I’m also up against one of the hardest disciplines I face.

I’m going on vacation. That’s the best part.  Nine days starting today with the famous you-can-only-understand-this-if-you’re-Canadian 22 hour non stop drive to the FLA.  Seven nights to unwind and then a slower drive back with a stop at one of my favourite places: North Point for church.

My kids are getting older.  Jordan starts university in September and this may be one of the last or the very last “four of us in lockdown together” vacations we have.  Can’t believe life is flying by as quickly as it is.  I am completely savouring the time I’ve got coming up with the three most important people in my life.  I love time with my family.  We’ll even be able to spend time with some of Toni’s family who’s down in Florida as well.  Should be fun.

Now the hard part:  I’m going to unplug for nine days.  No work, no blogging, no email.  I might twitter, because, well, because it’s twitter. Or maybe not.  We’ll see.

In this uber-wired world, I find it harder than ever to unplug.  I don’t worry about Connexus – we have the most awesome team running it.  I know they’ll handle everything as well or better than I could.  It’s just I like to work.

Time and again, it’s caused tension when I’ve tried to combine play and work, so I’m going to try to do something I don’t do well at all – unplug.  No email.  No blogging for a week or so (even though I have about a dozen posts floating in my mind).  No sermon prep (I love the writing almost as much as getting to preach).

But the tension is here even on day one.  My family’s sleeping in as we get ready for the ride.  I can’t sleep.  I showered, got ready, gassed up the Honda, grabbed some Tim Horton’s tea for Toni and I.   They’re still resting.  So I do the only thing I know how to do:  work (finishing some future series outlines).

I have a disease I think.  Truthfully, more than a few of us in church leadership have this disease.

I just want to be fully present for my favourite people on the planet.  For me, that means unplugging.  So…here we go.

How do you wrestle with the tension between working and resting?  What helps you?

I’ll look forward to reading any comments (when I get back in a week or so, of course).  :0)


  1. Carey on March 5, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Justin…we are more alike than you might think or want to admit. One of my growth points this year is to try to figure out how to handle unstructured time. I just don’t know what to do with it either.

    Gina, thanks for your honesty. You are so right. I am realizing that unplugging make me better when I am plugged back in in every sphere of my life. Which still leaves me wondering about how to solve the problem I share with Justin. :0)

    Ruth Anne, taking every thought captive is a great starting point!

    And finally, John…I think the fact that i LOVE work and LOVE my work is part of the problem.

    Fun and helpful conversation.

  2. gina on March 5, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I think you’ll find many that identify with you but for a variety of reasons. For me, I’ve been guilty of failing to unplug out of fear. What will my boss think! If I can still engage even on vacation I might be able to catch any balls that would have dropped while out. That only makes me more of an asset to the team, right?

    Not exactly.

    It was a tough thing to learn that unplugging and engaging solely with my family made me a better wife, mom, Christ-follower and church staff member. I wish I did it better even now, but I’m still learning.

    Thanks for your perspective, Carey. It’s valuable.

  3. Theresa Haskins on March 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I hope you have a great time! I will be praying for you!

  4. John Verkaik on March 2, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    If you love your work it is NOT WORK. The trip to Fla is not so bad I drove it 7 times in 2009.

  5. Justin Piercy on March 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    My problem isn’t so much that I like to work all the time, it’s that I like to DO. Since my work is enjoyable (I consider myself to be one of the most stellar teams around;) It’s easy to let myself “do” work all the time.

    Not exactly healthy, like you say. Since it’s the one thing I’m on the hook for, its an easy thing to fall back on.

    I find that my enemy isn’t that i like to work too much, it’s that I don’t know how to handle unstructured time. So when I’m faced with a bunch of it, I fall back on one of the things I do best, my job. I find that If I structure my time so that, even If I’m not working I still have some things planned out, then I can manage the whole work/leisure tension much better.

    If I just plan for a day off without anything on the books at all, I’ll often end up working as well, just because I don’t know how to handle the void.

    Good post.. food for thought..

  6. Ruth Anne Breithaupt on February 15, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Hey Carey,

    Me too! Love my work, love to prep and preach (I’m a pastor too), and find it really hard to unplug. Actually, leaving the internet alone is hard, but leaving my brain alone long enough for my soul to get some attention is harder.

    For me it’s all about “taking every thought captive”, which is easier some days than others. Music helps (uses a different part of the brain), playing with my grandchildren helps (reduces everything to the simplicity of joy), swimming helps (for 1 km every day I only have to swim there and back 23 times).

    Honouring Family Day helps too…which ironically I should get to. The rest of the family is waking up…finally!

    Blessings on your “unplugged” vacation.

    Ruth Anne

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