Recently given the chance, I have had the opportunity to sleep nine, ten, or even eleven hour nights. That’s extremely unusual for me. I find it difficult to sleep late anymore. But I guess my body has been telling me that it needs rest. It’s been a physically and emotionally exhausting couple of months.
We had the struggle of making a major life decision. We have packed our entire house, purged many of the contents, and put the rest of the contents in a POD. I carried out the emotional task of writing and sharing a final sermon with my beloved church family of the past fifteen years. We said goodbye to our house, our neighbors, and many friends. And now there’s the uncertainty of living in a new place, serving a different congregation, and trying to find a job for my wife, Tammy.
Anticipating such a season, I intentionally planned some down time between finishing my ministry at Mt. Calvary, and starting a new ministry at Ascension Lutheran in Casselberry, Florida. I knew I would need it physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sabbath is necessary. So necessary that the Lord Himself “rested” on the Seventh Day. The Eighth Day was the First Day of the New Creation.
As far as I’m concerned, “sabbath” isn’t just sitting around watching TV. Even sabbath has intentionality to it. My personal sabbath between ministries provides me a number of opportunities:
- To reflect on what has past. During these days I have spent some time thinking about all that was accomplished over the past fifteen years, failures, successes, false starts, and great triumphs. History is important. It informs the future.
- To enjoy the moment. During these days I am enjoying spending time with my parents, taking a short trip to northern Wisconsin with Tammy where her parents have a home and will be with us for a few days, catching up on some reading that I’ve wanted to do, doing a little writing, and trying to get back in shape by restarting my running habit.
- To anticipate what lies ahead. During these days I am trying to learn how to start a new pastorate. It’s been a long while since I’ve done so! I’m writing down thoughts and goals. I’m reading books that will help provide direction as Ascension and I start our journey together. I’m even trying to come up with a 100 day plan so that I can measure my goals as I begin in a new place.
I guess you could say this is sort of a “Seventh Day” rest for me. Pretty soon it will be the Eighth Day, the day of a “new creation” set before me and the people of Ascension. I plan to be rested and ready to go when July 8th arrives.
What does an “intentional sabbath” look like to you?