Ok, I am about to barf up some serious first world church problems. I found this last week to be really challenging. It seems like such a luxury to be on “vacation” for three months. And the truth is, that it is. But sabbatical is not vacation. It is a really strange and unique discipline.
Sabbatical has been a time of refreshment and renewal. I feel like Jesus has met me in some really sweet ways and has done some new things in my soul as I get ready to embark on a new season of ministry. This has been great!
But what hasn’t been great has been being cut off from my church community. Something one of our pastors prayed over me on my last Sunday at church has stuck with me all sabbatical. He prayed that the church would have a sabbatical experience as well as they manage without me. And he is right, our church, and especially the staff I supervise should have the gift of not having a boss for three months. Now, as the end is in sight, I am starting to wrestle through the complexities of returning.
I have spent these months working hard on both professional and personal competencies. I am excited to put them into practice when I return. But I also know, nobody else is excited. Our church staff has worked so hard while I have been gone, they have all picked up the slack and carried extra weight. I could not be more proud of them and want to share in their joys and burdens. The question is how in the world should I reenter. I recognize that it must be a slow process.
And this is where the problem is.
I love ministry, I love our church, and I love the actual people in our church and on our staff. And for three months I have not been able to hang out with them, talk shop, dream big dreams and solve problems. My wife is so tired of listening to me. Haha. I have found that the end of this sabbatical journey has left me lonely and anxious. Too much of a good thing? Or an invitation into a deeper encounter with Jesus.
I am going to lean into second choice. I have two more weeks away from our church. And in these two weeks I am going to trust that Jesus has something for me in it. He is enough for me, and for our church. This sounds nice and really “Christian” but, to tell you the truth, I am not sure I can pull it off. As I get ready to start another week, I am hopeful about a fresh start in my rhythms and am ready to listen more than I speak. I am ready to lay my burdens and anxieties down, and sit on the lap of God. I am ready for God to show up and meet me in a new and different way.
Pray for me, and I’ll pray for you. :)