Photo by bortecristian
Last year, I took a six week maternity leave when my youngest, Finn, was born. I returned to my writing renewed, refreshed, and much more excited about the platform God has given me. This year, we’re moving at the beginning of the summer, so logistically, it only makes sense to take a bit of time away. After all, I might not have Internet access for a while.
But even if we weren’t moving, I’d still take a break. There’s something magically refreshing about intentional down time, about stepping back, seeing the world from different angles, and getting enough space to reflect on the portion God has blessed you with.
This is the second year in a row where I’ll take a month off of my online work. Even though I earn a sizable portion of my family’s income through my writing and blog network, I’ve seen the benefits of closing the laptop, unplugging, and taking intentional time away.
I’ve learned, first-hand, the results from working too hard and not taking regular time for rest. When we lived overseas, we were “on call” 24-7, because when you live cross-culturally, your radar is up and your learning curve is on overdrive all. the. time. It’s exhausting, but we never realized just how much until we left the country, took a break from the language and cultural differences, and took a few deep breaths.
Those in ministry are often required to take sabbaticals — an extended period of leave to rest and to possibly acquire new skills. My family is all about this — we provide guest houses for those in full-time ministry to take breaks. We’ve been in ministry, and we know all too well what happens when you don’t take a break. We’re passionate, in fact, about how important rest is. You’ll burn out. And what good is a burned-out servant?
If those in full-time ministry are asked to take sabbaticals, shouldn’t that be the case for everyone? Maybe not formal sabbaticals, where we leave our homes and retreat in a log cabin for months on end, but some form of rest, retreat, and renewal?
Photo by Ana Cotta
This is exactly what I’ll be doing when I take an offline break from mid-June to mid-July. Sure, I’ll pop on to blog every couple days to make sure things are running smoothly (it is a business, after all), but my brain cells won’t be consumed with post ideas, and I won’t be looking at everything with the angle of “I could write a post about this,” or, “That would make a great photo for a post.” I’ll be taking a mental sabbatical, where I focus my energies on rest, reflection, and renewal.
Lisa-Jo recently reaped the benefits of a maternity leave, and as she said, “Was there initial withdrawal? Yes. Did the world survive without me? Shockingly, yes… In a nutshell: there’s way more time for actual talking and the whole world doesn’t, in fact, revolve around me.”
This is what I discovered last year. The Interwebz survived just fine without me, and quite surprisingly, I survived just fine and dandy without it. I started missing my work at around week 4, so when week 6 rolled around, I was eager and psyched to roll up my sleeves and get back at the work I love. My writing was much better, I had a much better attitude, and in turn, my business flourished even more. I recently wrote about the power of regular breaks when you’re an entrepreneur.
Even if you don’t run a business, and even if you don’t blog, sabbaticals should still play a part of your life. In all our lives. What do we need a break from? How could God be honored in our lives by stepping back from one activity to recharge our batteries?
• The school year is over for many of our kids. Could you use a break from running out the door every morning to get somewhere on time?
• Perhaps you volunteer within your community or in your ministry. Are you aching for a short break from this service that you love?
• Are you busy remodeling your house, homeschooling your kids, or otherwise running around town for playdates, ballet lessons, and Costco runs? Sounds like you could use a breather from the rat race.
Schedule in a few weeks off this summer to do… nothing. To sleep in. To go on vacation. To actually read a book (remember those?). To putz around in your garden, or finish the quilt that’s been on your to-do list for a year (that’s one thing I hope to finally finish!). Your mind, body, and spirit will be rested, refreshed, and renewed, and you’ll return to “real life” much more excited about what God has on your plate.
So… What’s your plan for rest this summer?
By: Tsh, Simple Mom