The BEMA Podcast

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

Lapping the Sabbatical

As I type this out, I am preparing for the High Holidays, starting this evening. One Jewish year has come to a close and another one begins. I wrote at the beginning of this sabbatical journey about how this would be a two-year experience, beginning with a Sabbath Year and ending with a time modeled and inspired by the Year of Jubilee. And that means we need a moment of reflection that will serve as a transition.

Throughout the series of reflections here, we’ve seen things that worked and things that haven’t. I’ve been honest about some of the recurring struggles, and also shared some fun stories. We’ve read the stories and testimonies of others who have been a part of my sabbatical space. We will continue to do those things here.

I said that each year would be driven by a theme, and this last year it was the idea of LISTENING. I wanted to create space for reflection and focus on considering what I was hearing and seeing. How could I become a better leader? What was I being tempted to ignore or explain away? What encouraging words (from the LORD or others) were being whispered in the busyness? Here are some of the things that emerged from this time of listening.

  • I have seen how much of a challenge I have in front of me to keep becoming a good leader. Everything that I lead is growing and changing and evolving — and this means I have to be nimble and grow and change with it.
  • I need to prioritize more calm, uncluttered listening space. In short, part of what I heard through my listening is that I should be listening more, and my life does not facilitate this. I need to keep forcing this issue until I have the life I think Jesus would celebrate.
  • I was reaffirmed in the thing that I love. I love to teach and create. Israel and Turkey were incredible reminders of that. People say “thank you” when I do it. I am blessed by God in my vocation.
  • My family is amazing. I have not failed them, but I do need to remain vigilant. My time with them (at home) is waning. They are one of my greatest joys.
  • Counseling is awesome and continual maintenance of my emotional health is essential.

If I continued to reflect, I could come up with ten more points, but those are the ones that rise to the surface.

Next year’s theme is the idea of GRATITUDE. We plan on celebrating and being jubilant. We plan on enjoying. We plan on doing all of these things in ways that remind us of the God who makes it all good and runs the show, not in ways that pursue our own self-indulgence. I plan on being resolute about not letting things steal what God has designed to bring us joy.

So, we’re off to Year Two, and I’m excited to have you along for the ride. I look forward to next year’s reflections.

Shanah tovah tikatiev vetichatiem! — May you be inscribed and sealed with a good year!