If I go back 10-15 years in life and think about how I approached Christian leadership it was with energy for the role, the tasks and motivated by the big picture of what we could achieve. The people were somewhat incidental and I found I often viewed them according to what they brought to the cause.
The people I connected best with were the ones like me who were head down, bum up going, going, going and who could help us get where we were headed. Those who detracted from the cause I had no time for and similarly those of ‘neutral’ value.
I was captivated by what I was doing (emphasis on ‘I’), loved the role, the tasks and the challenges and people were a means to that end.
Danelle and I have been considering an extended break from leadership in the following year, partly because we are a bit weary of the roles and tasks we find ourselves a part of, but what is interesting is that we don’t like the thought of a significant period away from the people we have been leading and grown to love.
It’s an inversion of where we were previously and another one of those things that snuck up on us. Both of us feel somewhat tired of the regular responsibilities that form Christian leadership in a local church and would like some time to refresh and renew. But we will miss the people… would never have thought that would happen 15 years ago.
We’re not sure what form a ‘sabbatical’ type of year will take bit we are currently praying and thinking about it.
Part of the challenge is that it’s not a ‘me’ question but a ‘we’ question. It has to work for all of us if it’s going to be worthwhile. As we discussed this the other night as a family Ellie asked me what I’d really like to do. I found myself a little caught off guard as I hadn’t really considered that… I had been considering what is possible or what may satisfy all of us, but not what I really want because I didn’t see that as even a possibility.
We finished up in some tense conversation as Sam adamantly stated he ‘wasn’t going anywhere ‘. He wanted to spend the whole year in Yanchep, not taking any holidays and doing well at his school work. Might need a paternity test I am thinking…
While it was a difficult conversation it was also a good one because we worked hard at discussing and negotiating as a family. We explained to Sam that ‘no – we wouldn’t cancel all plans if he wasn’t keen… ‘ but we also want to go ‘together’ and enjoy time together. Once Ellie starts year 11 and returns to regular schooling we will be restricted for the next 4 years until Sam finished year 12, so this is the window of opportunity to clear the heads, recharge the hearts and come back ready for another 5-7 years.
I’m not sure what will happen to this point and it feels like there is a fair bit of ‘work’ to be done before we can agree together what will be valuable. But I also think it will be a good process and important in shaping our kids understanding of decision making and listening to god.
Have you thought what a Sabbatical “by the well” would look like?
Just musing myself but for me it could be something like getting rid of my car and walking, biking, commuting, or borrowing rides for a year or two. Or maybe cooking everything from scratch including things like grinding flour and making bread, perking coffee, brewing beer, doing dishes by hand.
It would involve an intentional “inconvenience” to force a slow down in my life. But I wouldn’t have to leave home or disturb any one else’s life in the family. For me, simple physical labor like this provides rich time for reflection and renewal.
Just a thought.
Appreciate the thoughts. Will consider for sure!