Sabbaticals: Not So Unnormal

I’ve had interesting dialogue with people about going on sabbatical this month. For the large part, it seems people have an idea what a sabbatical is for, but it appears foreign because they’ve never been on one themselves. 

This is my first legit one. I say that because two seasons in the past I pretty much gave myself a sabbatical by choosing to leave jobs without transitioning immediately into another one. No regrets. Both ended up being about six months long. (I should have lobbied for more than a month this time. JK)

If you just Google various angles inquiring about sabbaticals, you find this is more normal than not. And it should be. How it’s defined is going to vary, yet the value will remain. To read one recipient’s review, follow this link.

So as I post throughout this month, I encourage you to ponder what a sabbatical might look like and mean for you, your family, your company. Become more normal.

Deep Water

Luke 5:4 (MSG)

When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.”

If you’ve read the Gospels, you are familiar with this story.  Simon and his coworkers had been fishing all night and caught nothing.  Then Jesus tells them to do this.

Using that deep water thought, what area of life might God be telling you to push out?  What if He knows something you don’t and all you have to do is respond like Simon, “If you say so”?

  • It’s possible you’ve done all you can in the water where you are; it’s time to trust God by going into deeper water.
  • It’s possible you’ve exhausted all your resources in doing the same routine, doing what you know; it’s time to follow God in doing something new in deeper water.
  • It’s possible you’ve matured beyond the needs of your current location; it’s time to believe God has more for you by stretching you in deeper water.

Why be content in your “all night’s” work?

Why not consider the possibilities where God is offering to guide you?

Dairy Farm Inspiration

“Have you ever stuck your hand up a cow’s butt?”

Not a question meant for you, really. It’s a question asked by someone on TV.

I just watched an episode of Undercover Boss from 2013 where Menchie’s frozen yogurt franchise CEO Amit Kleinberger went undercover at a dairy farm and a kids birthday party to assess his company. In his work at the dairy farm, Amit met Francisco. Francisco asked Amit that question. By the end of that day at the dairy farm, Amit had a new perspective about his company, and probably about life. What Amit saw in Francisco was a passionate employee. Francisco cares about his cows. “I love these cows. I love my job.” Amit later told Francisco that he left inspired that day. 

So why would a CEO be inspired at the dairy farm? One reason was he was able to help Francisco bring a new calf to the world. Another first for Amit. Francisco let Amit name the calf; he named him Alan. That was a memorable moment, yes. But what inspired Amit was the attitude, perspective, and focus of Francisco. The way he talked about the cows, the purpose he shared about his job, and the model he hoped to show his children inspired Amit.

How we do what we do should inspire others. It’s biblical. We are to mirror the image of God in how we do work. You may think, “But I don’t like what I do. I’d rather be doing….” So why aren’t you? Is it possible God wants to help you but you’re not letting him? How can you follow his plan for you?

You may also think, “I’m doing what I’m meant to do, but I’ve lost the joy, the passion. I’m probably not inspiring anyone.” So where did the passion go? What caused you to lose it? What would it feel like to restore it? Are you willing to do the restoration work?

Maybe we all could use a trip to the dairy farm. And stick our hands where they’ve never been before. Ready?

A Verse for Life

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭138:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The first phrase of this verse is a statement of conviction, a reminder of God’s ongoing work in every person’s life.

  • God has a purpose for you. He intends to fulfill it. He is always at work on your behalf.

The second phrase of this verse is a statement of belief, a reminder of the how and why of God’s ongoing work in every person’s life.

  • Time doesn’t contain God. He has, is, will always be. That’s the how. The why is His love for you.

The third phrase of this verse is a request through submission, a commitment of surrender to the completion of God’s work in a person’s life.

  • You are in the best hands when surrendered to God’s plan and work in your life. This phase would be worth memorizing and maybe even becoming a life mantra.

Add this book to your library…NOW

Paul David Tripp’s book Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say & Do has been added to my list of must reads.

  • If you battle dissatisfaction, this book can help.
  • If you feel like you and God don’t get along or aren’t on the same page, this book can help.
  • If you work in ministry and have lost your joy, this book can help.
  • If you seem to be stuck figuring out your feelings, this book can help.
  • If you are angry with God, this book can help.
  • If you just can’t overcome complaining, this book can help.
  • If you have a shopping addiction, this book can help.
  • If you struggle processing what’s going on in the world, this book can help.
  • If you tend to control too much, this book can help.
  • If you struggle parenting, this book can help.
  • If you are looking to define success, this book can help.
  • If you aren’t sure whether heaven exists, this book can help.

Follow this link to Tripp’s website. Then buy this book. Read it soon. We are all at war over our awe. Learn why awe matters, what this war is even about, and let an awe correction change your life.