If I had one word to describe what my 30-day sabbatical was for me, that's the word. In every area of my life, I feel that I have a "inner button" switched from where I was before my time away and where I am now. I truly went into this time with no expectation. As a highly-driven person, I probably had more fear than anything heading into 30 days of no responsibilities. Everything I did for that time was from my heart - a true desire to do it. Whether it was sitting in a lounge chair somewhere in the Carribean or sitting with my son after school to help him read...I did what I enjoyed doing.
The interesting thing is that I wasn't sure what I enjoyed doing in ministry and in a lot of areas of my life before my sabbatical. I couldn't separate what I was responsble for from what I really loved doing. I found myself just bursting with new songs I wanted to share, some I had written, and others that I was worshipping with alone. I started to "feel" again. I think I had become numb to a lot of the day-to-day of my life. I didn't realize how far I had gone down that road.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, the power of sleep can never be underestimated. For the most part, I've been consistently going to bed around the same time and waking up around the same time. My new mantra my first week back has been,"Cynthia, that's enough for today." I feel like I'm treating myself like my own kids sometimes, but I have alot of unhealthy margins to correct.
Spiritually, I'm so thankful for the large amounts of time that I had alone with God. I filled the pages of my sabbatical journal and I practiced what Lance Witt refers to as "spiritual loitering." I spent alot of time wasting time with God and being quiet. I know that is why my songwriting was so rich and plentiful during my sabbatical.
Before my sabbatical, I had become disconnected to some of my life-long friends. I made plans with almost everyone of them either in person or phone during my 30-days. I am so thankful for the love, grace, and prayers they poured over me and the encouragement they were to me during this time. You know who you are...thank you for being fresh water to my soul.
I wasn't sure if I would be coming back to ministry after this time way. My exhaustion level was at my core. I laid everything on the line with God and told Him that if I needed to be done, I was fine with that. Twenty years is a long time and if my season was done, I was willing to be done. I was pleasantly suprised. Not only did God clearly reveal to me in my time with Him that I am NOT done, He renewed my heart and passion for His people in the local church. He refined my calling as I begin this next season of ministry. For the first time in a LONG time, I have a more clear understanding of how my days should be spent as a pastor's wife and a Worship Arts Director.
There were also some areas in my life that I realized were not as "jumbled" as I thought they were. Having a clear head helped me to see what was going well in my life and celebrate that! Our family vacation on a Disney Cruise just put a BIG exclamation point on my time away. Since we were not able to have a fmaily vacation in 2012 (it was scheduled for the week we moved into our new facility!), it was a wonderful treat to spend that time with them. Todd and I had great conversations during my sabbatical and we sense a true refreshment in our marriage and in our family.
I sensed anxiety and worry trying to creep in this week as I returned to normal life and then it as if the Holy Spirit just speaks to me and says, "No, we aren't going there." and it passes before it has a hold on me. I know there will be days when it wins. I'm celebrating it didn't this week!
I couldn't get this song out of my head during my time away. I think it became my heart's cry and how I want to move forward in my life...
"I need you more...more than yesterday / I need you more...more than words can say / I need you more...than ever before/ I need you more...I need you, Lord/ More than the air I breathe/ More than the song I sing/ More than the next heartbeat/ More than anything/ And Lord, as time goes by/I will be by Your side/ 'Cause I never want to go back to my old life." Written by Bruce Haynes and Lindell Cooley ©1996 CCLI #2061678
It's the last line of that song that I think has just stuck with me. That's what reset means. And that's what I'm leaning into each day.