I’m taking a sabbatical!

I wrote a little about sabbaticals back in June when we were talking about practical ways to rest. Back then we talked about mini-sabbaticals that you could take to help you find rest on a regular basis.

I’m actually taking a little bit longer sabbatical than the ones we discussed there. My employer allows for every employee to get extended time off sometime every 7th year. Now is that time for me.

So starting on Sunday I am off until the beginning of the year! I have an entire month off. In my entire professional career, including time between jobs, I have never had this much time off. I don’t even know what to do with myself … in a good way. I am blessed.

What Are Your Plans?

I don’t have many plans and that’s on purpose.

Sean McCabe says:

The sole purpose of a sabbatical is rest. The one rule of sabbaticals is: do not schedule anything for your sabbatical. It’s not the absence of an event but the presence of margin. This is what makes a sabbatical rejuvenating.

In making plans ahead of time you create obligations and obligations are not restful. If the main purpose of a sabbatical is rest, and you create a lot of plans, then you are creating a lot of un-rest.

Yes, you can do anything you want on sabbatical. Have coffee with that friend, go to that one place you want to go to. Do those things you want to do, but don’t plan them ahead of time.

Sure, if you want to travel on your sabbatical, things might have to look a little different. You’ll have to get hotel rooms and whatnot. But if you can avoid it, don’t plan anything ahead of time. That’s what I’m attempting to do and I have a feeling that I will be more rested because of it.

So You’re Going to do Nothing for a Month?

No. I didn’t say that either.

It isn’t going to be all video games and bingeing Netflix shows for a month. Although, let’s be honest, that might be a great month.

I’ve been spending some time in prayer asking God what He would want my sabbatical to look like. In doing so, I’ve gotten 3 very specific words from Him. They are:

  • Rest
  • Reconnection
  • Rhythms

The first one is easy. The point of the sabbatical is to rest. To do (or not do) those things that I enjoy that bring rejuvenation to my body and soul.

The second, reconnection, hits a little bit deeper in my heart. Over the course of this year, we’ve been pushing hard to get a new app out and into the wild at work (see last weeks post). I’ve spent a lot of time working and not a lot of time connecting with my family, my friends, or even with God. So this word is to remind me that my community is important. This is my chance to reconnect with those people that I love. It is an opportunity to spend time with them, and listen to them. It’s a chance to remember the awesome people God has placed around me. It’s a chance to reestablish my connection with them.

Last, this sabbatical is an opportunity for me to establish new rhythms. Things have gotten out of sync in my life. This is an opportunity to put them back in the right order and places in my life.

Daily habits like quiet time with God, writing, and exercise have all fallen by the wayside. They’ve become casualties of life when I am not being intentional with it. Things like making time to talk with Heather on a daily basis or spending quality time with my kids. These are things that I should do in a regular pattern that I don’t do much anymore. I want to make these things (and others) a part of the rhythm of my life again. This sabbatical will allow me to do that.

Last Sunday while in church, God gave me the theme of my year for 2020. It’s “health.” I don’t have a lot of clarity around that theme quite yet. It will involve my physical health, for sure. I have a feeling it will also involve my financial health, spiritual health, and emotional health as well.

I’ll be 46 years old in January and as I reflect I realize I’ve neglected my overall life health as a category for so long. So as I head into a year of “health” how appropriate is it that I get the opportunity to get rest on the front end? We’ve talked about that before, right? How great is it that I can take the time now to be intentional and set up healthy rhythms for my life going forward? It’s obvious to me that this time of sabbatical is not a mistake or ill-timed, but instead is a gift from God for my life.

I’m looking forward to this sabbatical and what it means for me. I’m excited to find rest, to reconnect with those around me, and to create new, healthy rhythms for my life.