This blog post I’m writing is a task I’ve been thinking about for a long time, particularly after the release of We Too.
I’ve hinted at the strain of this year, and I’ve asked for prayer. But now it’s time to actually do something about my level of fatigue and health issues. Stress is real, friends, and it messes with your body and mind and soul!
Sabbatical January through March
I wish I could say I perfectly navigate it, but, like you, I am imperfect at these things. Sometimes you just need to stop.
Nearly every year I read the life changing book The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. If you’d like to start your 2020 off right, I highly recommend it. It’s about rest and sabbath.
Here are some gems, along with my comments:
“Sabbath is time sanctified, time betrothed, time we perceive and receive and approach differently from all other time. Sabbath time is unlike every and any other time on the clock and the calendar. We are more intimate with it. We are more thankful for it. We are more protective of it and generous with it. We become more ourselves in the presence of Sabbath: more vulnerable, less afraid. More ready to confess, to be silent, to be small, to be valiant.”
A Sabbatical is an elongated Sabbath. I am longing to reconnect with Jesus, the One I love so much. I am deliberately choosing to set aside time and space for my heart to heal from the whiplash-like wounds from 2019. Like Jesus who retreated into the mountains after taxing ministry times, I am doing the same. I want to become more of myself. I want to heal.
The weight of the stories I’ve carried this year have overworked my heart. A dear counselor friend told me what she does when this happens.
- She lists all the things that drain her.
- Then she lists the opposite of those tasks. For instance, if you’re hearing a cacophony of stories, the opposite might be taking a walk in quiet nature.
- When she is facing heart burnout, she does more of the second list.
“The devil distracts. God interrupts. And for some reason, we fall prey to the one and grow oblivious to the other.”
I feel like this year has been far more reactionary to trauma, internet vitriol, and attack than it has been about being purposeful and measured. God has interrupted me with some frustrating health issues that are, no doubt, stress related. I cannot fix them while I continue to expose myself to further acrimony. I need to rest from the drama.
Have you ever felt that way? What do you need to step away from this year for your health?
Part of my calling, I’ve come to understand, is prophetic. That means calling out truth when darkness prevails. In doing so, I have made myself an easy target, which is fine, but I underestimated the toll it would take on me. Instead of taking rest throughout those inevitable attacks, I plowed on AND ON and on until my heart numbed from it all.
A numb heart does not a prophetess make. (Be assured I’m not necessarily calling myself a prophet, but that my word ministry bends that way. You see it coming out in my book WE TOO, as well as all the media, talks, and conferences that entailed. In order to maintain this kind of voice, I have to take some time to gain some prophetic distance from this year.
“The perpetual delusion of humanity is thinking we’re better off hiding than confessing, avoiding rather than facing, clinging to our sickness instead of taking the remedy that’s freely given and readily available. ”
The remedy is rest. I haven’t truly taken a longterm rest for over a decade. Honestly, it’s because, like you, bills have to be paid, and taking a break from work means no pay. Thankfully, we are a double income home, and my husband is deeply encouraging this time of extended sabbath. This is available to me, so I am walking into it, trusting God for provision. Do I panic? YES. Do I worry about my career/ministry? YES. But perhaps in these quiet places I can finally re-surrender to the truth that I am not my provider, God is.
I grew up feeling abandoned. I think part of my overwork and desire to help every single person in my life is so that no one will ever have to feel that way. While noble on the surface, I sometimes fall prey to a Messiah complex, thinking that if I CAN do something I HAVE TO DO something. This looks brave, but it demonstrates a lack of trust. I need to work this out. Jesus is a beautiful savior. I make a poor messiah (and if I always rescue, perhaps I am preventing others from turning to Him instead?)
So, I covet your prayers as I take a Sabbatical from January through the end of March. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort leading up to this time, recording Pray Every Day, and scheduling blogs. You’ll see a few posts in the next few months that share the Pray Every Day two-year milestone anniversary as well as an invite to attend my April book writing intensive. But other than that, I’ll be pretty quiet online and on social media.
Thank you in advance for praying. I’m humbled by any bit of time you’ve spent interceding for me. I am blessed beyond belief.
Continue to listen to that still, small voice, Mary. And stay there until you’re refreshed. Repair is necessary to make you whole.
You’ll be in my prayers.