"Sabbatical or a sabbatical (from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a "ceasing") is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from two months to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita (sabbath year), described several places in the Bible, including Leviticus 25."
Wikipedia goes on to say: "The main Bible passage for sabbatical concepts is Genesis 2:2-3, in which God rested (literally, "ceased" from his labour) after creating the universe."
Today people take a sabbatical from work, sometimes because they have lost focus or they are mentally exhausted. Others take sabbaticals to write books or to travel. And Helen Coster says,
"...a sabbatical (a word derived from the word “sabbath,” for rest) can have enormous long-term benefits if you have the determination to do it."
To say that the last year has been overwhelming would be an understatement - I lost my job, started a new one, switched churches, moved my dad into assisted-living, lost 5 people (one to cancer, one to a drug overdose, one to a skateboarding accident, one to old age and my dad to Parkinson's), endured the harshest winter since 1977, mentored a recovery worship team, started a new position as a volunteer worship pastor, discovered my 90-year-old neighbour in her backyard after a heart attack with a broken hip and wrist, became a spiritual grandpa to 3 precious baby boys, walked alongside a friend through a very traumatic experience - and today I'm discovering that all of this has taken its toll on my physical and emotional health and well-being.
My well has run dry.
Thankfully I realized that I needed help BEFORE my dad passed away in June and sought counselling and support. Today I am grateful to have supportive people walking alongside me on this journey and I'm looking forward to the good things God will do in my life when my health and strength has been restored!
I am starting a sabbatical by taking a rest from everything I am doing EXCEPT work. Although my employer is willing to give me time off too, I am going to continue working while I dialogue with my boss about the option of a sabbatical leave. This is primarily a financial decision.
In the meantime, I have a few sabbatical goals - things I have put off or never had time to accomplish because I've been too busy or because I was procrastinating. Things like:
- make my music available on iTunes
- revisit the book I started writing about my time in Brazil
- read more
- attend a weekly support group
- declutter boxes in my closet (that I haven't opened in 3 years!)-
- visit long distance friends that I've lost touch with
- schedule massage therapy (if I can afford it!)
- walk more (a.k.a. exercise)
- stick to a budget
- record at least one new song
And last, but definitely not least... I also want to commit to the "less is more" philosophy as it pertains to MANY things in my life: drink less coffee, watch less TV (or get rid of TV altogether), eat less fast food, and my favourite... less Facebook! (According to a study by the University of Chicago, Facebook, texting and tweeting are harder to resist than alcohol and tobacco! I think we could all use LESS of that!)
There is an old expression that Christians used to wear on a button: "Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet!" I know that God is not finished with me. In fact, He may just be getting started!
And so it begins.