This question...meh. It's a lot of pressure. I went into these "38 days" with the intent to refocus, refresh, and reflect. Yes those things happened. But even when you take a sabbatical, you never take one from life itself. There were friends who lost loved ones to cancer and covid. All the highly-anticipated college dance auditions trips & travel were canceled due to another variant. Disappointment, loss, unmet expectations....they follow you on a sabbatical.
I read that if you want to have a different 2022 then you have to decide what you are going to change about you for that to happen.Truth. My counselor challenged me to journal about what I feel God wants me to change about my perspective in every area of my life and to also take more seriously soul care than ever before as a lifestyle...not just a "when I have time" thing. All good things and yes, God absolutely did some fresh work in all areas of my life. I am so thankful for the time. It has truly been a gift.
So here I am. Heading back to normal life because make no mistake...a sabbatical is NOT reality! What do I do now?
I am a little nervous about being unhealthy again. I was exhausted. Absolutely exhausted. As so many of my brothers and sisters in ministry over the last two years have expressed...ministry got REALLY hard with Covid. Everything got hard in life period. And it's ok. I'm not 25 anymore! There's that too!
So here I am. First week back. I didn't know how I would feel and didn't have an expectation. So, this "non-feeling" place is legit. And back to my first point. What am I going to change about ME if I want healthy soul care and if I truly desire God's perspective on everything?
1. Fill my days with what makes me feel alive. I have allowed my days to be filled with too much "I gotta get this done." Yeah, we all have that stuff that does not make us feel alive. HOWEVER, I can be more selective of how much I ALLOW of that over 24 hours.
2. Accept that I need more contemplative time every day for healthy soul care. There's a saying, "Fake it till you make it." Yeah, not when it comes to soul care. Life is busy and this one is not gonna be easy. BUT, if I want good health for my soul, I will make the time.
3. I'm weary of Covid and I need to grieve and that's ok. I have spent some time truly grieving the loss of friends, family, the loss of missed opportunities and experiences for my kids, especially Sydney - the loss of community and even the loss of certain relationships because of their stance either way on a vaccine or a mask. My counselor said we have to grieve loss. You can't bury it and think you will just get over it one day. Nope. It was eating me from the inside out. I have accepted God's grace and will continue to grieve along the way and that is ok.
4. I'm still kicking. Celebrate that every day.Todd and I will celebrate our 30th Valentines Day together this year. I love Valentines Day! Always have. We are still here and still together. We are still in ministry. We planted HHICC and we are still here. My kids are teenagers - one about to be an adult - they are still here and that's something everyone cannot say right now about their teens. I'm still getting up everyday and being faithful. Doing what God has called Todd and I to do together on HHI to lead the church He called us to plant in 2007. We are still raising these teens in a crazy world. I'm coming alongside my mom who is a widow now 5 years this March. She's still here. We are here for her. We are all here and that is something to celebrate every day.
So no HUGE revelations...sorry to disappoint. It was a rest, reset, and reflect time...truly what I prayed it would it be.
There are not enough words BIG enough to thank our Elders, our staff team, their families, and all the volunteers for this gift of time. They battled COVID among their own families, moving to new homes, and the loss of some of their own extended family members this month. Todd and I are so thankful and so blessed for their leadership and look forward to a "new normal" of these amazing leaders carrying on in many ways with what they have already proven they can do as leaders and as pastors at HHICC.
So I'm back! You can email and text me without an auto response! I am looking forward to leading worship on Sunday and being "at home."
A prayer..."God, grant each of us the grace to have our perspectives 'tweaked' by you so that we can fully experience who you are and the life you have for us here and now. In Jesus' Name, Amen."