We are in Charlottesville, VA this evening, on our way to Williamsburg in the morning. This is the beginning of a pseudo-Sabbatical – a much needed rest after finishing a major assignment. For this was the final week of work for me on a project that has occupied my time for almost four years now. Of course, I have still worked with the clients that I have had for many years, but this large assignment has kept me extremely busy. It is almost like I have been out of communication and now that I have completed the work, I am looking forward to things getting back to the way they used to be.
Make no mistake – I have enjoyed being busy but the season of life is changing and it is nice to have time to step back and just listen to what God may be trying to say to Janet and me. I have had a wonderful career and it isn’t over yet, I don’t think, but the same things that thrilled me years ago no longer motivate me the way they did. I think far less about success and much more about significance.
It is interesting to think about work the same way that we learn to study the Bible in seminary. First, you observe what is being said, then interpret the passage and finally make a suitable application. Where people get hung up is in thinking that they should change their interpretation of the Bible based on where they are in their lives. But this becomes a slippery slope. Rather, it is far more consistent to realize that the interpretation of the Bible doesn’t change throughout our lives – only the application.
And that’s because as we have more experiences and deepen our relationship with God, God uses our lives in different ways. That’s why, as we mature in our lives, we may well see the world through different eyes and the application of our skills and our motivations change. So, as we acquire years of growth, God can use our maturity to benefit the kingdom in different ways. The key is to listen to what God is saying and then to line up with His desires for our lives.
If we don’t listen careful enough, we could miss the chance to have a front row seat to witness what God is about to do. And I don’t want to miss the show – because it will be bigger and better than anything I can imagine. That’s where the sabbatical comes in. It is an opportunity to focus on you and your relationship with God – and it can be anywhere from a day to a month or 3 months – whatever you need to hear the still small voice of God. I have no idea how long it will take me to hear from the Father – but that’s just fine with me – I am not in a hurry… and I intend to enjoy the journey.
Sometimes, it is sufficient, even preferable, to shut out the world and just recharge your batteries – listening for instructions from the Father about the next application of your skill set to be used for the glory of God. Tonight’s verse is one of most famous verses used in career transition ministries. From the book of Jeremiah we are told, in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
My encouragement this evening is to take time and smell the roses. God is relational and there is a tremendous amount of benefit to just let the love of God wash over you without the distractions of everyday life. My prayer is that God will speak to you in new and exciting ways so that you may receive great direction on the next application of your skills in the world. And if you need to take a sabbatical, then do it. You may be surprised at the results it will yield. There’s nothing more important that your relationship with the Creator. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…