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Monday, May 01, 2017

Day #1 of my 3 month sabbatical...

I don't know what to say.  I don't know where to start.

All I know is that I woke up this morning and I literally don't have to think about work for several months in a row.  I'm just sipping a coffee in Starbucks reading a book for pure enjoyment and waiting for the weather to clear up so I can get in the woods and start cutting wood for next winter.

The month of May--the first of three months--is set aside for personal recreation and time with Heidi and the kids...but more than anything, it is set aside to establish new patterns of thinking and rhythms of living.  I will begin exercising 5 days a week and lifting weights (to get buff).  I will kayak a fair bit, go to some movies, get some massages, read several books, return to writing, attend the girls soccer games, get in some daddy daughter dates, get the boys out in the woods for adventures, sleep, take naps, begin to watch "Sherlock" on Netflicks (heard a ton about it for a long time), catch some NBA playoff games, read some of my favorite blogs, and probably most importantly...memorize and internalize Psalm 139 journaling my response to its inspiration in my heart.  There is something that draws me back to that Psalm in this season and I'm actually looking forward to finding out what exactly.

But if days begin like this one, I will be spending a good many days detoxing from the idea that I'm needed somewhere to somehow do something for someone.  I woke up yesterday and was laying in bed constructing the timeline of the Fall and where we're going as a church.  I was way in the future so that I could cast a vision in this present.  It was like second nature to 'be ahead of myself' so as to forecast my foretaste of the future.  Crazy...I had to snap out of it.

I woke on Sunday morning feeling the butterflies in my stomach that I needed to collect myself and shake off the sleepiness to get ready to be alive, alert, awake and enthusiastic by the time people showed up at 9:15am for the first service only to remember that I wasn't speaking and that I was visiting another sister church in the area with no responsibilities other than to show up as an encouragement to this new church plant that launched 3 weeks ago.  It took me 30 minutes to believe it was real--for my chest to loosen up--and for my heart to believe the freedom was actually true and not a carry over of my dream world.  I'm serious...it was trippy.

But I'd be lying if I didn't say I was looking forward to this freedom I'm being afforded after 20 years of ministry.  My soul will get my full attention as well as the souls of those I love most dearly--my family.  I can already feel my spirit being released to them exclusively.  I feel more energy to pursue them...no deadlines, no rushing, no preserving energy, no leftovers...they have the whole of me.  They may not like that after a while, but it's not going to last forever...at least to this degree.

My greatest fear is that I will emerge from this three months just as frenetic and frantic as I entered it.  I hope to break the bonds of 5 identities that cause me anxiety...I want to stop being the 1) Performer 2) Pleaser 3) Perfecter 4) Promoter & 5) Producer.  A cocktail of these personalities mix together on any given day to cause my chest to feel like it's going to split open like an over-ripe watermelon and it's gotta subside or I will expire prematurely in my calling.  I've found various things to take the edge of these crippling constants, but as I've rid myself of those coping mechanisms, it's forced me toward God with the question: "Are you enough?"  Can he be my all in all?  Can he help me see myself differently?  Will I believe him when he tells me who I am in His eyes?  Will it be more than an intellectual agreement or will it be bone deep?  Bringing identity and integrity to my soul that is anchored in his voice of truth...this is my deepest need.

So on Day #1...I'm asking for and admitting I need a lot of help.  My soul needs to be restored in every way...through world travel, wrestling with my boys, walks and talks with my girls, deep communion with my wife, leafing through good books, expressing my deep heart in writing, whimsy, walks in the woods, good coffee, adventures, silence, cat naps, and time in the presence of my Father.  I need to hear his voice, the same voice that spoke into my spirit 2 months ago saying, "You're my boy, and you're a good boy."

My heart is set on a much needed pilgrimage.

Psalm 84:5 - Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

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