June 29, 2005

Rest area 2 miles ahead, get your shoes on

Our church is gracious to us. My husband is the pastor and has had a rough year. He has been making lots of changes in how the church does it’s work and had a bout with depression last winter. So our church is giving him a month’s sabbatical…plus some time in the Fall for a trip to Israel that a church member gave to us. I always thought that a sabbatical was a period of time off of one’s regular job to do further research and study in an intense way….i.e. a college professor working on a doctorate degree. On an internet search, I found, http://www.thesabbaticalcoach.com/ which makes me laugh. I guess some people may need a coach to get them to rest. Another sight urged “Relax with God and Minister to Yourself”. Oooo, it seems that there are a whole slough of people out there ready to schedule you and plan your whole ‘rest’ for you. heehee

We are just doing it the old fashioned way, really old fashioned….like from Bible times. It turns out as I have looked into it further this year that a sabbatical is a period off one’s regular job for: rest. Obviously the word comes from the same root as Sabbath, the day of rest. God wants us to rest, He commanded us to rest at least once a week, not only to turn our minds and hearts to Him for that day, but also to physically stop and rest for a day. As some of you may know, a pastor’s Sunday is usually far from restful! So for the month of July, we are resting. I guess you could say we’re taking a ‘month of Sundays’. =)

It begins….tomorrow! We have some plans, including a camping trip to Colorado for 2 weeks, but we are resting from being in charge: of church business, resting from meetings, resting from preparing sermons and organizing stuff. *Whewwwwww* I think it will take a while for it to sink in, but I can already see the relief and gradual relaxation my husband is feeling. Oh, he is not sitting around with a tv remote in his hand. So far, he has mowed, trimmed and weeded the front and back yards, even in his allergy season….he has done a couple of repairs around the house that have long been neglected….he has gone for a walk with me every morning this week….he’s going to ‘town’ with me tomorrow and giving our outside dogs baths. “Yay!!” Clean dogs are my favorite kind!

I have to admit, we need a rest because we are not very good at resting in our normal mode of busyness around our house. This year was especially crazy with me taking on a 4 day a week volunteer position at our church school. We are worn out…..a kind of worn out that I am not sure a month off will bring relief from….but we are grateful for it. We are trying to learn to rest from ‘activities’ and spend time renewing our focus and priorities, including God, the Word and family. Simplicity….that is what I am searching to describe. A simpler lifestyle….seems ‘simple’ but in our world of kids’ activities, church, obligations and ministry, life is far from simple….it’s more like ‘catch a few minutes while you can’ to talk, spend time with our kids or to just sit and veg.

Of everything this year has held, I think depression took the biggest toll. King David was a cool guy. He had this godly understanding of human nature long before psychology ‘explained’ it all to us. Psalm 42 talks about depression and the toll it takes on our minds and bodies. I will just include one verse, but do look at it…even if you’ve never been depressed yourself, it can help you understand a smidgeon of what depression is like.

Psalm 42:11
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

So as we rest, I may not blog much in July, especially while gone camping.

…no internet….? I can do that.

’On your sabbatical ye shall rest from thy typing and striving and clicking and info-bites. All other days, ye shall surf, but on the sabbatical, thy fingers shall not type’.

Then again, this is a very restful creative outlet for me, so on the days we have electricity and a phone line, I may be able to get some entries…as well as some pictures. Did I mention my husband bought me a new digital automatic OR manual setting camera for my birthday? (I got it early due to vacation plans.)

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