Recently, I have been contemplating taking a road trip westward with my little pup. Like me, he’s not really a pup anymore; that’s simply a term of endearment for the faithful four-legged companion of eight years who follows me everywhere.
Everywhere, that is, that doesn’t involve very long trips in the car. He is not a fan. Of course, this reality brings the idea of a long westward road trip with my dog to a screeching halt. There’s that, and he’s also not very helpful with navigation (sigh).
But one of my heart’s deepest desires right now is for a sabbatical. Call it grief. Call it exhaustion from being sleep-deprived for several years, frustration, anxiety, depression, or whatever label you want to put on it that makes you feel more at ease. For me, it’s about temporarily setting aside the daily stressors in life that challenge mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It’s about seizing the opportunity to create space to spend time with God and accept his invitation to life’s grand adventure.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).
This is Jesus’ invitation to enter into relationship, and it will open the door to the love and adventure of a lifetime. As with anything new, there are bound to be scrapes and bruises, but when you enter into relationship with him, there is also ever present joy. This desire for a new adventure feels like the result of a holy discontent that has been brewing in me for some time. It is the Spirit’s voice inviting me to draw ever nearer to my Lord and Savior.
Because change needs to happen, I want to better understand what that looks like now. This is never something I can do in my own strength but can only do in prayerful contemplation and humble dependence on God. It is God’s Spirit around me and in me that leads, guides, helps, convicts, and comforts me. In resting in God and leaving the outcomes to him, I learn a grateful acceptance of what is in life and yet a confident faith for what can be.
I continue to trust in God’s goodness, knowing that I am deeply loved even when I still manage to do wrong (no matter how hard I try not to). For it is the Lord’s kindness that brings about repentance (Romans 2:3-4). I want to be different, but also to trust in how God has designed me. After all, none of us can keep God’s perfect law (Romans 3:10-12). Try as I may, I can’t even perfectly stop myself from the occasional California hesitation at a stop sign. I am grateful that my GPS pings every once in a while to also remind me of the error of my ways when a sense of urgency or impatience presses my foot down a little harder on the gas pedal. These boundaries are healthy, and they are how we learn.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Put your trust in Jesus daily. Trust that He is who He said He was: the God who entered into humanity as a man, both fully human and fully God. The Messiah who took on our pain and suffering and bore the sins of mankind so that we might have eternal life with Him along with others who choose to believe. It is as simple as that. It is only in trusting in what Jesus has done that gives us rest in this life.
The month of May is nationally designated to raise awareness of mental health issues. For me, it seems to be the perfect time to accept the Lord’s invitation for a new adventure. To be clear, it is not myself I am seeking, nor is it a focus on my life goals or how to avoid future pain and suffering (okay, so maybe I might be considering how to avoid the unnecessary suffering I sometimes bring on myself). I am seeking my Lord and Savior who is ever present with me. I want to experience more of Him, and to put faith into action by loving God and loving others as myself.
“The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged” (Psalm 69:32, NLT).
This doesn’t usually require a change in circumstances, and yet it sometimes can. The question I often ask myself to better discern my motives is this: Will whatever I’m contemplating draw me closer to God and to others I am in relationship with, or will it push me further away?
As I enter into this sabbatical time, I hope to post updates more frequently. I might share books I’m reading, devotionals from my personal yoga practice, or how I experience God showing up in my life. Feel free to stop by again!
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Until me meet again.
Photo credit: Chalabala
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