Many people have asked me if I’m excited about my upcoming Sabbatical, which begins February 1 and ends July 15, and which takes me and my wife and one of our daughters to Wales.
I am excited.
But actually I’ve had little time to think about it. January’s been a whirlwind.
That’s largely because I’m trying to cram too many things into too little time. This entire month I’ve felt like a traveller running late, breathlessly trying to catch up to my next point of departure, while the scenery blurs past. I’m speaking to a gathering of youth pastors this weekend, and my topic, ironically, is Sabbath rest.
I’m not sure whether God is laughing or weeping.
But I think laughing. There are times when we must go flat out. The pace is not sustainable over the long haul – you can’t sprint a marathon – but sometimes going hard and fast is the only option. I will, by God’s grace and my church’s generosity, have several months of slow and easy. A month or two of burning the midnight oil is small recompense for that.
In recent years, I have been fascinated with two ideas: soul seasons, and spiritual rhythms (indeed, my last book, Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of the Soul, swelled to over 300 pages as I probed both ideas). The basic concept: our soul, much like the earth, moves through seasons, and we best steward each season by finding the right rhythm for it. We cure firewood in summer and burn it in winter. To reverse this is wasteful and unwise. So with soul seasons and spiritual rhythms. The Bible warns us that to sleep during the harvest is shameful, to idle during plough-time is disastrous, to fast at a wedding is rude, to only watch while others worship is barrenness.
For everything there is a season.
I am right now in a season of hard work and about to enter a season of deep rest. Each has its rhythms.
And you? Know the season. Find the rhythm.
And in due time, you will reap a harvest.