The BEMA Podcast

Love God. Love others. Become people of the Text.

Not Winning

We’ve been reflecting on a lot of the ways that things work during sabbatical and how God shows up. We’ve been celebrating the lessons we learn and the way sabbaticals work at ICM. However, I do not know of one single sabbatical where everything goes as planned and all the objectives are hit and everything is wonderful.

With every sabbatical I have ever seen, you have to be willing to make changes. And I feel like this is one of our better lessons by itself.

So let’s talk about one of the things I mentioned previously that has been a total failure. In that entry, I mentioned that I wanted to read Torah with my family every night. Well, this simply hasn’t fit in our weekly experience. While we could break our backs trying to smash it into our bedtime routine, the fact of the matter is that we simply don’t have the bandwidth.

And we work hard (and have for years) to make sure we have time in the Bible. We are currently preparing for my daughter’s bat mitzvah. She is preparing her reading and her derashah. She’s working on her project to share and we are very intentionally involved in family practices together. So this isn’t an issue of whether we have spiritual practice. It happens to be a realization that we are bordering on too much.

And so we took a chill pill and just backed off. We cut ourselves some slack and realized that if we weren’t careful, we would mess up the spirit and objective of sabbatical all together.

And this, quite frankly, is not our style. We make commitments and we stick with them. We finish what we start. And so this decision has been a practice in and of itself.

I know that for others, they go the opposite direction. They might feel like they need to be challenged and push themselves. Part of healthy spirituality is the idea of accurate self-awareness. Do you know who you are and what your tendencies are? Do you know what you need to look out for and be aware of?

Luckily, part of our structure is also that accountability structure I mentioned at the beginning of this series. I have teammates to check this stuff against, and they are checking in on me. They know me and my tendencies well and push me to let sabbatical do its work. So, sometimes, we are able to learn from those things that never work out in the first place.