Since I have been back from my sabbatical, I have had people ask me two main questions. First, how was it? And second, what did you do for all of that time off??? Ok, I admit it, seven weeks is a long time off of work! It is not something I had ever done before, and I thought I would be bored. But I found the value of deep rest and soaking up God’s love. I also re-learned something I had forgotten: how to really enjoy my life.
When I was younger, I had a few jobs that I didn’t really love. What I looked forward to was the end of the day, going home to see the ones I loved and enjoying my personal life. Ever since I have done ministry, I have gotten to have a job that I love. That is a good thing! But the problem with believing in your job is that it makes it easy to forget about the other parts of your life. I never cut my family out of my life, but I did cut back on my hobbies, my housework, and other habits that made my life amazing. I had stopped looking forward to my personal life; I only wanted to rest so that I could get back to work.
Since January, I have been challenging myself to do one thing per week that was just fun. Here is the scary thing: most weeks I could not even think of anything fun to do besides watch TV or go to a movie. That was a warning sign that this part of my life had been neglected. A personal life has to be developed, or it will disappear. On my sabbatical, I re-learned how much I liked my life. I missed it. Welcome back, life! I feel much more joy now, which I know is going to make work and family much better.
In case you are worried that I am going to frolic my life away, rest assured. I still believe that family and work are the two biggest ways we contribute to this world, and we are asked by God to do these things well. But life is also to be enjoyed with Jesus; I think I got so excited to contribute – starting a church, seeing lives transformed, developing leaders – that I forgot to drink deeply from the cup of life. (John 10:10)
This is how I answer people who ask me about my sabbatical. Yep, it is a long answer! But if you ask a preacher a question like this, what did you expect? Love Jesus. Love your family. Work hard. And enjoy life!