In the late 1940’s, on a train from Illinois to Texas, a preacher named A. W. Tozer penned words burning in his heart. Throughout the night he wrote, and by the time he’d arrived at his destination the next day, the rough draft of a book was done. In it, he said the following:
Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all. —A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
And here we are more than 65 years later, and Tozer’s words couldn’t ring more true.
For that reason, because of the conviction of the shallowness of my own heart, I am taking a self-imposed sabbatical. For years I’ve watched the rare person take a spiritual step away from their ordinary life with a mix of both longing and envy.
Oh, how I wish! I wish I could take a month away. Away from the to-do list, away from the frantic day-to-day scramble to get it all done, away from the constant, merciless pressure to do all, be all. If only …
Then again, who says I can’t?
I get to choose (as do you). The past years of working day and night to write, to speak and coach and grow a career were something I chose—choose—to do. I enjoy it, oh how I enjoy it! But I can also un-choose it. For a time. To disconnect for the sake of connection. With my God, my family, and my own heart.
For that reason, I’m shutting it all down. The blog. The social media posts. The phone calls and meetings and emails. Other than a few prescheduled posts and commitments, I’m blocking my calendar for the next four weeks. I will not be checking blog comments. I will not be perusing social media. Every temptation can be deleted from my phone and laptop easily enough.
Instead, I’m going to rest. To read and think and pray and write. And I’m going to allow creativity and wisdom and the God of both full access to my focused attention.
You’ve likely heard me say this before: I’m not the same person I was before 2014. And part of this new me needs more space away from the noise and on my knees. And although there’s yet a part of me—the driven, Type-A, business-lover side of me—that’s afraid to disconnect and miss something important in the process, I’m far more afraid of what I might miss if I don’t.
I’ll be back (barring some burning bush revelation). And I hope—I pray—I’m a better woman, writer, friend because of it.
Have I mentioned how much I love you?
Oh how I love this post!! I will miss you but I am dancing for you- Rest is the best choice ????
Well done – praying for you xx
Rest is so vital to our hearts, minds and our relationships. It’s not an easy step but one that is necessary in life and I believe God honoring – praying for you as you step away, rest and connect with God and those closest to you. May you be refreshed deeply.
Thank you for the COURAGE not only in writing this, but for the COURAGE to do this!
I cannot fully begin to understand the many nuances of your recent journey, but I can deeply appreciate the need to simply PARK IT and go into HERE AM I LORD mode as He prepares to woo you as never before!
Love you right back!
God bless this time you are taking. I have managed to carve out a 2 week vacation at the beach and my plans are just like yours: read/pray/listen/write/sleep…and eat lots and lots of seafood.
What a beautiful post, Michele… and so, so true. The never-ending to-do lists and hustle and bustle of our daily lives certainly takes a toll on our hearts and souls. The older I get, the more I appreciate quiet unscheduled time for contemplation, prayer, just simply to be. My prayer is that your sabbatical is filled with love of family, joy, laughter, simple pleasures and a sense of wonder for all the beauty that God has blessed us with and that your spirit be refreshed through God’s peace. Hugs!
Go in Peace ………rest and continual healing in body mind and spirit.
Wonderful! Praying your creator will speak to you in the quiet moments and restore your soul. He is faithful.
Brava! This takes courage, humility, and quiet wisdom. My hat is off. So are my shoes.
ps Thanks for the good words from Tozer. I am taking them deeply to heart.
Wow friend, I am so impressed and proud of you for recognizing the nred for the rest of disconnect! Choosing to pray much for you these next weeks! Can’t wait to “see” you again!
I know you won’t read this for awhile, and I am so glad for that! I’ve been hoping you’d take a rest, really truly, and how awesome that you listened to God and one of his own, A.W. Tozer. I love that man’s books and words, and I’m thinking it’s time to dust off some of his books I have in my bookshelf and read them again. Michele, we all love you and we are so happy and blessed that you are choosing to take some time away from the hectic craziness, albeit something you love…. to rest. Enjoy your time of rest, your family and yourself and most of all enjoy spending time with the Lord….Sabbath, it’s a necessity!
One of my favorite little worship tunes by Steve Green, is “Rest, the Lord is near, refuse to fear, enjoy His Love. Trust, His mighty power fills every hour of all our days…” Get a copy of that to listen to while you are “resting”. I sing it to myself quite often, when I need to feel His peace that passes understanding”!
From what Steve Green song do these words come? They are quite lovely!
Funny. You posted this the same week I wrote a very similar post. And so did my friend Laurie Klein. God is doing something here, Michele. He’s telling us to trust him, and do things that seem logically wrong. And yet isn’t that how God works? He uses things we wouldn’t normally do to mold and shape us. And to remind is just how great he is. Rest. Live. Love. Watch God work. God speed for now.
Michele, Thank you so much for sharing this news. It is a message that others need to hear. May your sabbatical be refreshing to your soul! I love you! Alice
Thank you for sharing your heart and needs. May you rest between His shoulders(Deut 33:12) and be refreshed like the spring rains watering the earth. Sweet blessings on you and your family.