Learnings half way through my Sabbatical...

I've had people ask me in the last month and a half what are some of the things I've felt or learned since the beginning of my Sabbatical.  I thought I'd try and write them down before I forget them.  Here goes nothing...

1. It's an odd feeling reading things and learning things with almost no one to share them with.  I suppose this shows how often I live with the furnace door wide open too much consequently letting out most of the heat.
2. Writing every day is essential to assembling scattered thoughts and bringing them together into useful order.  There is something about taking a nebulous idea and turning it into a coherent sentence.  I can't stop doing this.
3. I still wake up every day with a weight on my chest that something is counting on me, required of me.  I think this feeling is put in us by God...we were created to wake with something to do that day, whether we're on vacation or in our vocation.
4. I wondered if the demands of ministry being stipped away would reveal that I wouldn't want to read the Bible once I didn't have to.  I've been pleasantly surprised how hungry my heart has stayed without "having to" do anything.  I want to read, grow, pray, study, learn, and live well.  I just know there are times the Enemy has whispered to me: "You wouldn't do this if you weren't in full time ministry".  It's been freeing to know this is who I am with or without a position or platform.
5. I miss friendship.  One of the disciplines of a sabbatical is to spend more time in solitude and pull away from regular relationships outside of family.  I am a creature of community, so I can feel the absence of friendship very acutely.
6. I have fallen back in love with words and language.  There was a time when I would just read the dictionary to revel in words and their meaning.  I've enjoyed having the time to explore new words and the beauty of what they were created to express.
7. I have felt a release in my spirit to enjoy my children even more fully.  I can sit with them longer, laugh a little harder, talk a little deeper, and listen a little better.  I feel more playful and less preoccupied.  It has showed me how often I am elsewhere even when I'm with them.
8. I have enjoyed being at home more and working around the house, especially outdoors.  It feels good to stay home and let Heidi have more freedom to leave, whether it's to run errands or just have space to get away from the pressures of subduing the boys.  It makes me appreciate the labor of being home and all the work it takes to run a family and hold the household together.
9. I set out to connect more deeply with my sons.  The day before heading into my sabbatical I felt a deep impression in my heart, "You haven't released your heart to your boys."  I teared up because I knew it was true.  They didn't have my heart like the girls did, and so I set out to be with them fully.  It has been amazing to watch the lights go on in their eyes when I play hard with them or invite them to help me with something or go out in the woods and explore with them.  Even when I have to get after them, I can tell a difference in their response because my discipline is undergirded with relationship.  I'm not just an transient enforcer, I'm a present parent.  That's been so good for my soul.
10. Sadly, I've learned that I still carry anxiety.  There was a hope that with the freedom of schedule and being removed from the rigors of daily ministry that my heart would find 'perfect peace'.  Though I don't feel the same weight, I'm still surprised how anxious my heart can be during the day.  I've learned that my work isn't the source of my anxiety, my sensitive heart is the source of my anxiety and that I must "cast my cares of Christ because he cares for me and carries me."  I'm glad I know that it's present even outside the pressures of work...it arms me to see it for what it is instead of blaming it on stuff that has nothing to do with its reality in my life.  I feel deeply...this is a gift and a curse, I just have to manage the marriage of these two opposite realities.
11. I have been disciplined to exercise each day.  I can't believe how important this has been for my psyche.  It took several weeks to not hate working out, but once I got over a certain hump, it became something I looked forward to and actually needed to feel aligned, centered.  There is a direct connection between the physical and the spiritual, the biological and the psychological.  I look forward to continuing to invest in "loving the Lord with all my strength".  My body is not along for the ride, it's actually what my soul is riding in and I must take care of this vehicle God's given me.
12. I'll end with one more...I sensed last week that I felt more susceptible to insecurity and fury because I havent' been doing things and getting affirmed for them.  When I am not getting affirmation from accomplishing important things, it's easier to feel offended by something someone says to you or does to you.  I usually feel pretty unaffected by sarcasm or even criticism because I'm really beafed up with a consistent inlet of encouragement, but I haven't had that for quite some time, so I feel vulnerable and more easily offended.  Don't get me wrong, I been offended and felt angry before my sabbatical, but not for the reasons that I've felt recently.  It showed me how much I need to get my affirmation from God and how much I rely on the approval and appreciation of man to fill my tank.

Anyway...those are a few things that come to mind thusfar.  I continue to debrief every couple days and process new or different experiences that are causing different emotions in me.  I want to learn things about my soul that I can't see or feel when I'm in the woods and the weeds of daily ministry.  So grateful that the Holy Spirit is walking with me and lovingly teaching me during this time.


Popular Posts