Taking a Sabbath

For most people that serve in full time ministry it is often difficult to stop and rest. This should not really be that difficult as God himself, rested on the 7th day and gave orders for us to follow suite. Far too often though, we serve, give, play, etc all seven days and we do not stop to rest unless we take a vacation. There is something far to wrong with that picture and something that after 24 years of ministry is going to change with this man. For the first time ever, I’m taking a sabbatical. My current church, blesses its pastors with a sabbatical at the end of the sixth year of service to be taken sometime during the seventh.  I am now on a 15-week time off where I’m not allowed to do anything “ministerial.” I am to rest, reflect, renew and refocus and those are truly my goals on during this time.

It feels strange, almost as if I’ve resigned, and yet, I will say It is nice to not have the daily pressures and struggles that occur in the life of a pastor. I am just being. I’m being careful to rest. I’m being careful to spend time with my family. I’m being reflective and trying to understand how I let myself become so burned out and exhausted, both mentally, physically, and even spiritually.

I’m ashamed to admit just how bad I am(had become), I had lost all sight of my calling in ministry.  I let my dream get carried off with the conflict and chaos that enveloped my church for five years. It destroyed me on the inside to where I was simply going through the motions. I had really become robotic in what I was doing and I apologize to all my family and church family for allowing that to happen.  I cannot blame anyone but myself. I allowed myself to drift. I allowed conflict with a leader to kill my dream and rob me of the joy of being a Jesus follower. BUT, that will not happen again. My focus is starting to renew again and I’m asking God for a new dream and a new calling. I want Him to confirm that I’m in the right place and heading in the right direction.

The road will be “bumpy” but I’m glad I’m walking closer to Jesus, He’s leading me to still waters and quiet places. It won’t matter whether he leads up the mountain or down to the valley as long as I walk when he walks, and rests when he rests, it will all be good!

Have you ever felt this way? Are you going to continue on your own path or will you stop and rest, take a Sabbath. Do something to stop the crazy path your on before you find yourself burned out and bitter…. I’ll leave that for my next post.

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