The Battle Against Summer Escapism

Jonathon M. Seidl

July 14, 2022 | 3 minute read

Can I be really honest with you? 


It’s been a tough week. It seems no matter what I do I can’t get ahead. Deadlines and expectations are piling up. As soon as I feel like I can breathe, something comes along and knocks the wind out of me. Personally, professionally and everything in-between. 

And you know what I do when that starts happening? I want to retreat. I want to escape. I want to get away.

In fact, I found myself last night saying, “I need a vacation.” 

How many of you have said that? How many of you have said, “If only I can get away, then everything will be OK"?

I think a lot of us treat summer that way. We get overwhelmed, we get burned out, and then we say, “If only I had a vacation I’d be better.” 

And how many times have you gone on a vacation – or retreated – only to find that the vacation didn’t really do for you what we thought it would or wanted it to?

I know I have. In fact, over the Fourth of July, my family and I took an extended “working” vacation. And while there were many great aspects, I didn’t leave feeling how I wanted to feel.

Why is that? I think it’s because – especially during times of stress – we look to things to satisfy ourselves. For some that’s alcohol or porn, but for others? It’s escaping. It’s vacation. 

Trust me, I love vacations. I’m not disparaging you for taking one or wanting to take one. But the problem is when we look for anything, including a vacation, to be the one thing that makes us better. When we make it our savior.

A better approach is to view our times away as opportunities for rejuvenation, not retreats; not escapes. That’s a small difference with big implications. 

When we try to escape, we pretend. We pretend our problems don’t exist. We want to drown out our present circumstances and look for things to distract us. Rejuvenation is different. It recognizes what we’re going through and says, “I know I can’t do this on my own. I need to go find not something but someone to fill me back up.” 

That someone is Jesus. He’s the source of rejuvenation, and he’s found in solitude, not escape. 

I’ve mentioned this quote before from author Richard Foster on solitude, but it’s worth repeating here:

In our day God is using the spiritual discipline of solitude as the great liberator. Solitude liberates us from all the inane chatter that is so characteristic of modern life. It liberates us from the ever-present demands that are put upon us; demands that in the moment feel so urgent and pressing but that in reality have no lasting significance. In solitude, the useless trivialities of life begin to drop away. We are set free from the many ‘false selves’ we have built up in order to cope with the expectations others place upon us — and we place upon ourselves. Solitude empowers us to walk away from all human pretense and manipulation.

That doesn’t sound like escape, does it? That’s something deeper. Something more fulfilling. Because solitude isn’t about distraction, it’s about development. It’s not about running away, but about running toward – toward your creator. 

Friend, if you’re looking for a vacation this summer to give you your purpose and solve all your problems, I’m telling you it will never live up to that expectation. It can’t. It was never designed for that. 

But if you treat vacation as rejuvenation, as a means to find something and someone deeper, I think you’ll find what you’re looking for. I think you’ll find Jesus. 

I know I need to hear that this week. Because everything inside me wants to run away instead of run towards. And yet, it’s only ever in the running towards that the problems and challenges and difficulties of life are actually solved. 

Maybe you don’t need to hear it this week, but chances are you’re going to need to hear it at some point. And when you do, I want to challenge you to pause and remember that the only thing you ever get when you run away is tired. But when you run towards Jesus – the source of true peace – that’s when you find rejuvenation and rest, not just for your body but for your soul.

And honestly, that’s the best vacation ever.

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. (Jon) Seidl is a writer, speaker, and digital media strategist. He’s the author of the #1 bestseller, Finding Rest: A Survivor’s Guide to Navigating the Valleys of Anxiety, Faith, and Life.

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