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May 20, 1993

Vacation Appendix

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Well, here it is, time for another few days of rest and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the job. Nothing to do but kick back and catch up on your sleep and reading.
If this describes you, just pitch this book into the stack and make sure you take the time to reflect on some of the following questions over the next few days and weeks. Unless, of course, you are a “pack-it-all-in-from-sunup-to-sundown” person. In that case, be very intentional about scheduling time to read through this section. It will help you to assess where you are, where you’ve been, and where you are headed.
Vacation time is a great time to spend with friends or family—a time to have fun, a time to rest, and also a time to reflect. This section is broken down into seven different daily activities. If your vacation is shorter, then pick and choose a few to focus on, or stretch it into your daily devotional routine once you are back at work. If your vacation is longer, pace yourself and take more time for reflection and prayer.
Whatever the case, make sure you approach this time with an open heart, an open mind, an open journal, and an open Bible. Allow the Lord to speak to you. He will gently and lovingly encourage, correct, and direct you in new ways.
DAY ONE: UNWIND
If you are like most people, it takes twenty-four to forty-eight hours to purge work from the forefront of your mind. Perhaps this activity will help.
Do a massive brain dump in your journal. Write down all the issues that are pressing you at work. List everything: personal conflicts, disappointments, phone calls you forgot to make, ideas that came to you on your travels, a memo you need to send. Don’t hold back, get it all down on paper. When it seems to have dried up, just wait a while longer. There’s always more.
When you have really finished getting it all on paper, spend time with the Lord, praying over the items you are having a hard time releasing. Ask Him to intervene in these situations, and ask Him to allow you to disconnect from work and plug into Him and your time of rest fully.
DAY TWO: REFLECT
During the next two days, you will have a chance to look back over the past year and do a personal inventory of what has transpired. We will hit a number of categories so spend time where you need to.
● Spiritual. How would you describe your walk with Jesus? What about your devotional life? Fellowship with other believers? Prayer and worship life? Other disciplines? Service and care for others? Tithing?
● Emotional. Do you feel emotionally healthy? What is your mood most days? How is your temper? When is the last time you cried? What about? How often do you laugh?
● Mental. What is the last book you read? What did you learn this year? How much time did you take to think? What new things were you exposed to? What new experts did you meet?
● Volitional. How disciplined were you this year? What about your habits— both good and bad? Were they a problem? What commitments did you follow through on? Which ones did you let slip?
● Physical. How is your health this year? How often were you sick? Did any serious issues arise this year? When was the last time you had a physical? Visited the dentist? How often did you exercise this year? How was your diet?
DAY THREE: MORE REFLECTION
● Home. How has your family life been? How is your relationship with your spouse (if you have one)? Your children (if you have them)? Your siblings and parents (if they are living)? What conflicts exist that need to be worked through? What great moments did you share together?
● Colleagues. How are your work relationships? How many new people have you met, either in your field or in your office? Whom have you added to your Rolodex? What conferences did you attend? How are your relationships with customers and vendors?
● Friends. What did you do with your close friends this year? What special trips, events, or activities did you enjoy together? What conflicts did you work through? What did you learn about your friends?
DAY FOUR: HERE AND NOW
Take some time to assess what you think and feel about the past year. Read back over your answers to the previous questions. What do you think? How would you grade the past year? What would you change if you could? What are you proud of? How do you feel about it in general? What specific instances elicit a strong response (good or bad) from you? Why?
DAY FIVE: LOOK AHEAD
Today, think creatively and strategically about the upcoming year. It will be an opportunity to address issues that have surfaced in the past three days and also a time to dream and set goals.
● Issues. Look back through the above categories, as well as any that you added. List critical issues that surfaced. Leave space to write beneath each issue. Now below each issue begin to think (and pray) creatively about how you would like to see those issues change. Don’t write ways to change them; instead, write what new outcome you would like to see come to pass.
● Dreams. Now look back through each category again and write down two or three things you would like to accomplish in the coming year in each one. Be creative. Have fun. Dream big.
DAY SIX: MORE LOOKING AHEAD
Today is a time to devise action plans for the strategies you developed yesterday. This is a time to be very specific—name names and write in dates. Don’t worry about getting it perfect; you can alter it when you get back into your routine. But now is the time to get an action plan for your commitments.
● Issues. For each issue outcome, write down your intended method for seeing this outcome come to pass. Then write down target completion dates. Don’t get paralyzed by exact dates; just get the month down.
● Dreams. Now repeat the same exercise for your dreams. Feel free to edit or list new items you may have thought of since yesterday.
DAY SEVEN: THE WORD
Today is the day to determine your Scripture reading plan for the year. If you typically read through the Old, New, or both Testaments each year, then you may consider a more thorough examination of a few books—and vice versa. No matter what you’ve done in the past, today is a new day. Spend this time with the Lord asking Him to renew your love of His Word and to show you where in the Word He would like you to spend your time this year. This is a critical element in your spiritual journey.
After you’ve completed all these stops, you should be refreshed, reenergized, refocused, and ready to go back to work!

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