A sabbatical is taking a period of time–usually anywhere from a couple of months to a year–away from your normal routine. It’s a time to immerse yourself in a different environment, try new things, reassess your priorities, and look at your life from a different perspective.
Although I don’t have the time to take a whole year let alone a month in which to partake of a sabbatical there are a few things I can do.
For instance, yesterday I chose to drive to Northern Illinois and see a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months. I was so stressed when I left home that I didn’t enjoy the drive there at all and it was probably because I was still running errands to the post office, getting gas for the car and I just couldn’t relax. I have been overwhelmed with stress with so many issues I can tell it’s affecting all of those around me and it’s affecting my health and outlook on my personal, business and spiritual life.
I had a great time during my visit with my girlfriend, enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather while we sat on the back swing for a while and then it was time for me to leave. On the way home my GPS wanted to take me on a different route that I normally take. I was like, “what the heck”…and I went with it. I realized that I had left all of my stress and daily drudgery at her house and I felt as if a huge rock had departed from my shoulders (I hope I didn’t dump it on her 🙂 )
I prayed a little prayer that simply said, “Okay God, I’m open to what you want to show me on this route home.” And boy did He. Everything I saw with my eyes were symbolic for what I have been experiencing in my life this past year or so.
The first thing I came upon was a road sign that read “bumpy road ahead” then I came across another saying “winding path”. The thing about it is there was so much beauty in between. It was quite honestly the most beautiful winding road I had been on in maybe a year. The last thing I came upon was a sign that read “Take a retreat” and it was this beautiful retreat out in the middle of nowhere with stables and horses and other animals.
I knew in my heart that I was being shown a picture as clear as on a movie screen exactly what I had been experiencing in my life. Just as this path showed me that though there was danger and difficulty and winding roads on my journey there was also beauty hidden in between.
I had been given a mini sabbatical today and it was almost as good as enjoying an ice cream sundae – it was such a treat! It allowed me to get out of the mundane day-to-day obligations and surroundings and experience a new environment causing me to reassess my priorities in life (those things that really matter) and bring forth a paradigm shift in my emotional state.
So, what are you waiting for? Your sabbatical is awaiting you.
(This post was written in the Fall of 2010. It seemed appropriate to share with you all again).