Cruising is such a fun way to travel. The first time my husband or I had ever cruised was on our honeymoon; after that we were hooked. All expenses are included in the package: food, lodging, travel, top notch service, and entertainment. The hardest part about sea days is trying to decide what to do next – lay in the sun, play paddle tennis, take a dance class, have an ice cream cone, work out in the fitness center, meet new people, watch a movie on deck, go to the show, or listen to live music. So many choices! And when we needed a break from the crowds, we had our room to escape to. It’s all about pleasure.

Kelly and I were much in need of a break and have anticipated this trip for months. Away from work, ministry responsibilities, family, and friends; we needed time to soak in each other and reconnect as a couple. We made a pact to limit cell phone use and keep our focus on God and each other, and be replenished. We had fun dressing up for “evenings out,” gazing into each other’s eyes, and uninterrupted talks about whatever came to mind. 
As is often the case, the enemy took this opportunity to plant seeds of guilt and doubt in me, to steal my joy. After conversations with staff about their long hours and months away from family, I began to feel guilty they were working so hard to provide the luxuries we enjoyed. It didn’t seem fair they couldn’t take a break and get a little rest too. 
And what about the people on the islands we visited, who work hard to earn an income, yet make far less than the average wage in our country? And what about those who can’t afford to go on cruises, or choose to spend their vacations doing mission work. Is it right to enjoy such exorbitant pleasures when there’s so much work to be done for the Kingdom?
I don’t know if you struggle with these questions or if you are able to enjoy the blessings God bestows on you with gratitude and ease. For some reason I have a hard time relaxing. Sounds ridiculous to admit, but I feel guilty if I’m having too much fun. 
I certainly don’t know all the answers, but as I talked to God throughout the trip and even after our return, I have listened for His response. The word that keeps resonating is balance. Work balanced with rest, ministry balanced with times of refreshment, healthful eating balanced with occasional treats, giving balanced with receiving – all in joyful service with grateful hearts to the One who makes it all possible. 

I know God supernaturally supplies when we don’t have the resources to meet situations when they arise in life – whether wisdom, energy, patience, finances, or whatever. But He also tells us in His Word to come away with Him and be refreshed at regular intervals. Just as airplane personnel tell us, we must don our own oxygen mask before helping others. It occurred to me that can also mean breathing in the pleasures God provides without letting the enemy spoil the gift. Then we are free to return to the work He gives us with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.
What are your thoughts and experiences along these lines? What helps you find balance in life?