Sometimes we just need to get away. We need to remind ourselves of what is important to us and reconnect with our loved ones. We need to be quiet. We need to find ourselves lost in nature where praying just comes from the subconscious and pours out of us as the Spirit refills our soul.
I've recently found myself bordering on feeling burnt out. I've had to pull back in a couple areas where I have over committed my time and energy. But even in this season of taking a break, my close friends are laughing at me because my calendar is still full! Apparently I'm a "yes" kind of person who thrives on burning the candle at both ends, and I have a hard time doing things without a great level of enthusiasm. (This is where having a touch of insomnia comes in handy. I get a good 20 hours a day to be productive!) But in those times where I find myself over committed, I get weary. I don't just mean physically tired. I lose my enthusiasm, my joy, and I go into commitments with a pretty rotten attitude.
As I've struggled to fight through this latest season, I had the honor and privilege of hearing a wonderful friend of mine preach the Mother's Day sermon at our church. She refuses to say she preached; she says she spoke. But trust me y'all... Christen flat out preached that sermon and knocked it out of the park! As she gave the message, her words, God's Word, spoke right to my tired soul and breathed life into me again.
So many of us set Proverbs 31 as the standard for the wives, moms, friends, and women we want to be. I absolutely do. My fridge is even adorned with a magnet quoting part of it as a daily reminder for me. The Proverbs 31 woman is a wonderful goal to set for ourselves, but when we compare ourselves to that standard without perspective, we run ourselves ragged and find ourselves worn out and being everything but the woman we aspire to be. So here's the perspective that set me free on Mother's Day... Proverbs 31 wasn't written by the woman it describes; it was written by a man who was describing an important woman in his life. Think about it. We are so incredibly hard on ourselves as women. But how would our husbands, children, and friends describe us? In most cases, I would say they would be much more complimentary and full of grace in their descriptions of us than we would be on ourselves. But there's another important lesson here hidden in the Proverbs 31 woman.
How many times have you heard someone say "how does she do it all?" I know I've had people ask me that and I have most definitely asked that of many of the women in my life. As Christen reminded us, the key to the Proverbs 31 woman that "does it all" is for her to remain grounded and connected to what is important. Her key to success was to guard her heart and stay closely tied to the Spirit within.
Sometimes the best way to do just that is to pull back for a time and to get away from all the activity. We just took a vacation where I had the perfect place and time to do that. We went to North Carolina for a week of family fun and on our last night of the trip, stumbled on to a little gem. We were heading back in the general direction of home but were looking for a place to stay for one last night. Yep, you read that right... our completely Type-A family lived on the wild side for one night and headed out without a plan! Boy did it pay off! As we drove past the National Tapoco Lodge in Robbinsville, NC, my husband said "Let's go back and check that place out. It looks pretty neat." That began what was probably the most enjoyable day of our week long trip.
I would describe it as a beautiful bed and breakfast style hotel that meets camping and nature. Every detail has been though of and the staff absolutely goes the extra mile to make your stay comfortable, enjoyable and memorable. We stayed the night in an adorable little cabin with super comfy beds (yes, that is exactly the kind of "camping" this city girl likes to do!) and spent the afternoon exploring and enjoying the property. And the best part? Being tucked away in the mountains, we were forced to unplug from the world! We had the most wonderful time enjoying our day together as a family, with no distractions from social media, emails or texts.
We got settled into our cabin and the hurried off to hike up to see the Bear Creek Falls. It was Haleigh's first hiking experience and she proved to be completely up to the challenge and thoroughly enjoyed the 3/4 mile hike up to the falls! She even insisted that we call her "Haleigh the Explorer!" I cannot tell you how much fun it was to just enjoy teaching her about different types of ferns, searching for and pointing out trees that beavers had been chewing on, and looking for cool bugs along the hike. The end of the trail rewarded us with a beautiful waterfall just waiting to be explored and smiles on everyone's faces!
After our hike, we enjoyed a delicious homemade pizza as we dined next to a gorgeous river at the Slickrock Riverside Grill, one of the two restaurants on property. This little treasure of a hotel has thought of every detail too. At eight o'clock each night, they light up the campfire and you can pick up your little s'more kit from the lobby! We felt completely at home in no time and were welcomed in like family by an amazing staff. We were only there for one night, but were sad to leave and are already looking at our calendars to plan another trip back there to stay longer.
Most importantly, it proved to be exactly what we needed to reconnect as a family and to provide refreshment to our souls. To be able to rock in rocking chairs on a front porch, listing to nothing but the sounds of nature and enjoy talking to your husband is priceless. To use your phones for nothing other than taking pictures with for twenty-four hours brought a surprising and welcome amount of peace. To just unplug from the world and enjoy the beauty that God created was exactly what I needed to find my center again.
There is nothing in the world wrong with being active, as long as we can be joyful in it. But when that joy starts to fade, that's a big warning flag that we may just need to pull back for a time. We may need to find our center again and guard our hearts, because truly everything we do flows from it. Even twenty-four hours of unplugging and focusing on spending some time in prayer and with our family will bring that needed refreshment so we can go back and joyfully "do it all" again.
Whether you take a trip to the mountains and find a cabin in the woods like the gem that the National Tapoco Lodge turned out to be, or you escape to the beach for the day or you just enjoy a day at home, turn off your phones, pull out your Bible, have a conversation with your husband or wife, and let the Spirit refresh you. Don't let this summer pass you by without finding a chance to reconnect and be refreshed. Your heart - and everything that flows out of it - will thank you.
In no way am I being paid for my inclusion of the National Tapoco Lodge in this post. We truly had a wonderful time and discovered a little gem during our travels that I wanted to share with our readers.