Recently, I was able to take three days out of town for a much needed Sabbatical. The last time I did this was one year ago, and our staff are allowed to do this once every three months (I need to get better at doing this more often). I was experiencing some early signs of burnout. Spiritually, I was dry. Professionally, I was not putting my best efforts into my ministry area. There was this highly emotional ‘pull’ for me to get away. So, after my wife had hers, I finally got away. I was so ready for this. I even felt a bit choked up as I hit the highway toward Atlanta.
Click HERE to read about my last 3-day Sabbatical, exactly one year ago.
Have you ever thought you knew what a particular experience was going to be….only to realize afterward that you were way off, but it was still good? This has been my experience twice now with Sabbaticals.
Stop having specific expectations. Seriously. From now on, my plan will be to focus on physical rest, reading, and Bible study/meditation. I’ve also learned that to assume what God wants to do through my quiet-time actually limits Him. If I’m expecting one thing, I can completely miss out on something else…..which is usually much better!
How do you stay Spiritually rejuvenated?
And what things tend to get in the way of this? Please comment or leave a voice message.
I was eating at Panda Express recently (while on a Sabbatical) and noticed a couple eating lunch together but not saying a word to one another. I couldn’t help wondering about their situation. Is their relationship so bland and boring that they have nothing at all to talk about? Are they simply too exhausted to interact (btw, this was lunch time)? Do either of them desire to continue developing their relationship, or are they content with ‘good enough?’
I think that we can often come to God in our quiet time the same way. I know I do. We come, sit in His presence, and maybe even engage in reading some of the Bible. But we really aren’t interacting with Him. This was what went through my mind as I observed (judged) this couple.
Wait, I’ve done this. I’ve sat down with Jesus and looked like this couple.
So I got to thinking. How can this be prevented?
1. Be intentional – Awareness is always the first step to better. So be intentional with your quiet time. Avoid simply reading quickly through a few verses and praying the Lord’s Prayer without any connectedness. Desire true fellowship with God in these moments. Pray for it at the beginning before you even start.
2. Make eye contact – Seriously. Envision yourself looking into the vary face of Jesus when you are praying. This makes it so much more personal. Doing this also virtually illiminates all ‘surfacy’ talk with Him. It’s hard to look into His eyes and ask Him to bless us with an ‘A’ on a semester final that we didn’t study for without literally seeing Him laugh at us! See what I mean? Try this sometime.
3. Communicate – This involves both talking and listening. Sure, there are times when we need to simply poor our hearts out to him. He’s loving and compassionate. He can and will take our verbal, all-about-me vomit. But don’t forget that He longs to talk to us as well. Sometimes He just wants us to listen. These are rich moments because He usually has something HUGE to share. Other times are meant for dialogue. He talks to you…and you talk to Him. Cherish these moments.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. John 15:4
What would you add to this list?
What has been your experience on this subject? Comment below or leave a voicemail.