Why? Cause two years ago while lying on a couch after foot surgery - I decided to ask our staff parish for permission to take a month off to hike. How did I know two years ago that I would need this month? I have been at THE "rockin" FUMC for almost five years as the Director of Youth Ministries...and honestly it has been such an incredible journey. But it has also been a hard journey. I lost a little of my center this year - my ability to KNOW that I am God's child. To hear his voice through the noises and distractions that I let in every single day.
I have been calling this trip my sabbatical. I looked up the definition for sabbatical and depending on which dictionary website I am on - I don't know if this word qualifies. BUT at dictionary.com - here is their definition for
|1.||of or pertaining or appropriate to the Sabbath.|
|2.||of or pertaining to a sabbatical year.|
|3.||bringing a period of rest.|
|4.|| SABBATICAL YEAR |
|5.||any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.|
So I'm taking a sabbatical - My month to travel and hike in Australia and New Zealand to play, be still, laugh and listen for God's voice.
I have learned that I hear God's voice most clearly as I am struggling up a mountain trail, with everything I need in my backpack, sucking down water as quickly as it is dripping off of me. No one else can help me in those moments...I have to take the steps myself...and when I stop to catch my breath - I look up. Look and listen and see. And I know. I know that I am so insignificant in so, so many ways. There is no way to feel significant when you are surrounded by trees and ridges that loom over. But God see me. He sees me...lost to human eyes...through the trees. He yearns for my heart. And I am filled.
I understand that I live in a culture where we celebrate progress and success and busyness. I don't know why we have to fight so hard to rest. To give ourselves permission to stop. It's like we are shamed when we admit that we are tired. Uh, people - we aren't made to go non-stop.
I am honored that my church is allowing me to rest. To take time for myself. I wish that this wasn't something we had to ask for.
Random interesting fact about Australia:
#1 ~ There is no place in Australia that has a distance of more than 1000 km(approximately 621 miles) from the sea.