Though my sabbatical began officially last Sunday, for all intensive purposes it truly begins today, because (a) it’s not impossible that I would have a Sunday off, and (b) Mondays are my normal days off.
But Tuesday is another story.
Tuesday marks the beginning of my work week; I answer email, then drive in for our weekly staff meeting.
But not tomorrow.
Tomorrow I’ll do… well, whatever it is you do on a sabbatical (truly, I’m still figuring this out).
When my lead pastor offered this to me, I emphatically told him, “But I’m not tired!” To me sabbaticals were for the worn out and weary; I had been in a fairly comfortable rhythm of ministry, and felt like I could keep going for the foreseeable future.
Regardless, Shana and I accepted the gift, and so I started to prepare. I called around to some pastors I knew who had taken sabbaticals. A good friend in northern California told me, “If you’re not tired, then make sure you don’t rest too much.”
Then he added, “Just do more of the stuff you love doing and less of the crap you can’t stand doing.”
So that’s been the paradigm I’ve been holding to as I enter this season (at least until school starts in February). I’m reading things that bless my soul, attempting to establish rhythms of grace that will sustain me, and trying my best to “make (and ship) things”. I’m listening to music that I love, and I’m watching movies that make me smile.
It will take some work, but I want to learn how to do this.
This morning, I read this from Dan Allender:
“Delight doesn’t require a journey thousands of miles away to taste the presence of God, but it does require a separation from the mundane, an intentional choice to enter joy and follow God as he celebrates the glory of his creation…”
Although there certainly is a distancing from some of the more mundane items in my weekly “To Do” lists, ultimately, sabbath—whether one day a week or 3 months—is not about what I don’t do but about what we savor.
It’s about delight.
Ironically, most of us are better at abstaining from things than we are at engaging in delight. It takes work and reflection, after all, to know what it is that brings the deepest joy to us.
But from someone who has a long, sabbath road ahead of him, I’d encourage you to take some time to learn.