This past month, I had the opportunity to go on a 30 day sabbatical.
Sabbatical comes from the root word, Sabbath or Shabbat, meaning ‘to rest’. This concept comes from the verse in Genesis about how God rested after 6 days of creating the universe. And after 15 years of working for the same congregation, I too got to rest.
I appreciated her suggestion, but chose to stay home to be with my family. No email or Facebook. No calls nor texts to my friends. Just an opportunity to really rest and recharge.
Most days, after I took my children to school, I got back in bed and stayed there until it was time to pick them up. It was slothful at first, but then again also very restful – a gift of time from my congregation. It enabled me to read, reflect, relax, recharge and reinvigorate. I got in touch with how neglected my soul had been feeling. The result of neglecting my spiritual needs was that I was beginning to feel burned out about my job and my life.
Unknowingly, I had been heading in a dangerous direction, and this month helped me change course.
Now that my sabbatical has ended and I stand poised to return to work, I have a new outlook on life. And a tremendous amount of gratitude for the ability to have had this precious time to let my soul rest.
It reminded me of a story about a reporter who went to a remote region of Africa to live with one of the last indigenous tribes. They had never seen modern technology – they lived in conditions we’d consider to be primitive. And yet, they had one another and had everything they needed. The reporter joined them on the condition that he follow their ways and customs.
A few days after he arrived, the tribe got up to journey on their way, following their leader. After walking a few miles, the leader sat down and rested, and the rest of the tribe followed suit. When it was time to travel again, they got up and started walking. And again, a few miles later, they sat down after their leader sat down. The reporter asked the leader why he kept sitting down every few miles. The leader explained, “We sit down and pause to let our souls catch up with our bodies.”
I learned that strength comes from taking time to pause and let my soul catch up with my body.
Letting my soul catch up with my body has been an ultimately positive experience. I would love to hear from you about your experiences of either taking time to pause. Or, if you have experienced burn out and would like to hear about that in future posts.