A friend who went on a sabbatical several years ago told that you really don't fully understand what God has done in you for several months or years after you have returned. I have this image of a sort of "time release" of truth and change that will keep going off for weeks and months.
Here are some things I noticed/learned:
- Stopping is good. Many of us are on a treadmill that moves too fast and it is good to stop. My relationship with God grew and deepened when I stopped.
- I felt "lighter." I am someone who has been pretty serious. A problem solver. Thinking about the big challenges facing us. And I discovered it felt good not to be constantly thinking through how every big problem could be solved. I discovered I felt "lighter" the more I trusted God to handle the world. I realized it is okay to stop...to smile...to laugh... to play...and not to carry the responsibility of the world around on my shoulders 24/7.
- Joy is cool.
- One of the best gifts God has ever given us is ourselves. Sometimes we let the person God made us to be get covered up...papered over...and we need to be good stewards of our own heart and mind and body and soul.
So I've come back and as I do I think I will:
- Work hard to focus on a few essential tasks God needs for me to do here at Trinity.
- Do my best to "fit" into the way God has been at work in my absence. The staff and our leaders have developed a new rhythm while I have been away and I don't want to get in the way of the good that is happening!
- Do less and do it better.
- Love God and continue to make an extended time with God the first thing I do every morning.
- Don't even look at email until I am well into the day, and not do any work on-line in the evening unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Head home earlier. Remembering the lesson of our neighbor in Mishawaka. Carlton was a farmer and when it was time for supper he turned off the tractor and went home. Even if he was close to having a field planted or harvested. There was a time to stop because the work was never done.
- Listen to less news in the evening.
- Watch less tv.
- Spend time each week beginning the writing ministry our leaders have been nudging me to undertake.
- Do my best to finish writing the sermon on Wednesday so that every Friday I get a full day off.
Every morning I begin with this prayer: "Jesus, thank you for this morning and this breath. Give me a sweet and joyful spirit, a soft and compassionate heart, and the courage to say and be who you need me to be today."