Sunday, December 1, 2013

Two Sabbatical Takeaways


Ah, yes, my self-imposed blogging exile is over.  
 
;-}
 
Thirty or so days have slipped on by.  I lost count of how many people asked if I missed writing.  There never was an easy answer to their straightforward question.  Some days I longed for keyboard and screen with a fierceness that rather amazed me.  And then there were stretches of time where blogging was the last thing crossing the overcrowded landscape of my head and heart. 
 
I whiled away peaceful hours curled up under a well worn quilt, fortified with a stack of books and endless mugs of hot tea.  I sorted through more shelves and possessions than I dared to count.  Kitchen appliances were dusted off and I became reacquainted with their workings.  Best of all, the weeks offered priceless hours with those dearest to me ... family, friends, clients. 
 
But even in the midst of my quiet puttering and restful moments, life moved ahead.  And with each passing day I encountered more news that was bad or sad or just plain unsettling.  Yet somehow right in the midst of it all, two sorely needed gifts emerged as priceless sabbatical takeaways, compelling invitations that beckoned from the Lover of my soul.  It wasn't long til these sweet gifts grabbed hold of my heart and claimed their rightful place in the daily weaving of my life.
 
 
Invitation #1 - Prayer
 
Jesus and I spent long hours together.  I had no choice.  There were just too many heart-wrenching attacks on those I love most.  Physical, emotional, spiritual. 
 
Each morning, I prayed myself gently awake, turning to Him before my eyes encountered the light peeking through the windows.  Even as circumstances seemed to be careening from bad to worse, He assured me that He hadn't changed and was still in control.  Daily, we walked together through hours when I knew I had no choice but to turn completely to Him as unnerving events poured down like endless torrents of teeming rain. 
 
Invitation #2 - Sleep 
 
I drifted off to sleep night after night only by His powerful grace, His Spirit communing His peaceful presence through Scripture verses and songs that floated gently into my heart, calming both mind and body, producing the most rest-filled sleep I've experienced in years.
 
I never dreamed {no pun intended} how dangerously tired I had become over time, how much deep restorative sleep I was missing through no fault but my own.  Too often, I was online far too early or way too late.  Burning the midnight oil left my brain overstimulated to the point where I could create entire blog posts in my sleep.  Really. 
 
The whole blogging thing had slowly become an endless striving, writing and checking stats and hoping for comments and racing over to jump right in at the beginning of linky parties.  All this futile crazymaking was gaining an unhealthy grip on me with unpleasant tentacles reaching deep down into my core.  Writing online had morphed into something wearyingly self-absorbed and shallow, petty and small. 
 
Those days are done.  Finished.  I'm back with a passion, but it's coming from a different place because something significant has shifted inside.  Deep.  I'm not quite sure how to define it except to say that I've decided to more purposefully live out one of my favorite verses through the writing I do.  
 
'We make it our goal to please Him' {2 Corinthians 5:9}. 
 
Trust me, my intent is not to come across as high and mighty or holier than thou.  This is simply where I am.  The honest truth is that my heart's increasing desire is to pen my words and live my life for an audience of One.  It's His approval I'm seeking.  And I'd love for you to join us as we travel on this next leg of the journey.  Together ...
 




* Sharing my heart with Laura & Kristen & Emily

20 comments:

  1. Let us be among the first to say welcome back, and thank you for putting your Walk with Him far above this blog...it helps re-establish priorities as you mentioned, and also will ultimately make you a better blogger if He continues to pattern your steps in that way (and we hope He does).

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Jonathan - thanks! Yes, the Lord is constantly wooing us into a deeper commitment to Himself ... and when we say 'yes' to Him, that choice has great power to influence all that begs for our attention. The sky's the limit when we put our own agendas aside and embrace what He offers!

      It was so neat to spend time with you guys last week. Love you both like crazy ...

      ;-}

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  2. Thank you, Linda, for sharing these sabbatical insights with such candor and honesty, trademarks of your writing and this blog I've come to love and respect.

    I pray that your heart's desire to write and to live "for an audience of One" -- a seed planted long ago, I believe, and watered and nurtured and grown these many years before many eyes as it has in silent solitude -- comes to a harvest so rich with fruit that it exceeds even your own expectations, hopes, and dreams.

    I'm grateful for the inspiration, as always, and for this challenge to remain true -- true to the Way, the Truth, and the Life -- in all that we are and all that we do. God bless you.

    Welcome "home"...again,
    HBHW

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    1. It's always lovely to have you come and visit, HBHW! You never fail to come bearing rich fruit and insights that hit home! And yes, that deep desire to live for that precious audience of One continues to be nurtured and tended and grown by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who never gets weary of inviting us into something deeper, stronger, and more substantial. I love Him so!

      I hope you are well ...

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  3. Faithful EncouragerDecember 2, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Thank you for your blog which I have read over but will really read over when my mind is clear and functioning better!!!! We are so thankful for the gift that the Lord has given to you, but it is His, and we pray that you will be used as you continue in whatever and whichever way that you feel He is leading you. I have to sit and concentrate on what you have written ...

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    1. Good morning, my faithful encourager! Yep, I hear you about needing to re-read something when our minds are more clear and focused. For me it's usually after that steaming mug of morning tea and a load or two of laundry taken care of! Your encouraging words and endless prayers for me keep me afloat and headed in the right direction. I love you dearly ...

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  4. I really relate to your struggle here, Linda. You and I have spoken (thru writing!) about this dilemma. There's something so consuming in both good and bad ways about blogging. I keep a saying near my computer that continually asks me, "Am I pointing to Christ? The REST doesn't matter." Keeping that laser like focus on Christ and letting Him determine the results of my efforts is a constant exercise in surrender for this control freak! :) Love ya and so glad to see you back with us in the ongoing conversations of blogging!

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    1. And I know those conversations will continue because you sharpen me and refocus me, my friend. This whole blogging thing is on ongoing challenge ... are we Christ-honoring or self-promoting? God-obsessed or numbers-focused?

      Don't you love that He cares about all the things that matter to us and promises to make our path clear?! Now ... to keep on discerning His heart and keep in step with Him!

      ;-}

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  5. Welcome back! I took a mini-sabbatical myself last week and only blogged once. ha. But even that was refreshing. I'm glad your extra time was transformed into blessings of more prayer and more sleep! You've blessed me by sharing what you learned because those are things I need too. Thank you, friend!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I love your mini-sabbatical idea ... that's a keeper and something I want to claim for myself in moving ahead! And the praying, the sleeping? They turned out to be the most wonderful gifts from above ... ones I had never really expected but God knew I needed greatly. I'm thankful He had the whole month designed way ahead of time ... but that's what He does, doesn't He!

      ;-}

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  6. Hi Linda! Welcome back from your time off. I am so glad that you answered the call to be silent and rest and restore. And what a new focus! How could that come unless you were listening and absorbing that grace from the Lord? That alone can tell you how wonderful it was to sit with Jesus.

    I'll be happy to join you in your new travels. You make Jesus happy, and I'll get to watch and read along. Deal!
    Ceil

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    1. Silence, rest, restoration? LOVE it! Us introverts needs heaps of it ... and I gotta practice what I preach and am committed to continue to live out what I encourage others to do! Thanks for hanging in there with me, and for your own writings, which are a delightful source of encouragement to me.

      I appreciate you so much, Ceil!

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  7. It was so nice to open my inbox and see one of your posts awaiting my perusal!! Welcome back!!! I appreciate the lessons that you shared here and the purposefulness that is emerging - not always easy to find that place. Hope that you are refreshed and that continuing to write from this place is refreshing and refilling for you! Many blessings!!
    Dar

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    1. Isn't it neat when you like what you discover in your inbox?

      ;-}

      You used the word 'purposefulness' and I think that says it well, Dar. I want to continue living my life on purpose, with purpose, for Christ. I'm so grateful that He keeps pulling us closer to Himself and refining us in the process. This sure is a lifelong journey, and He is a faithful Shepherd.

      Thanks for the kind words!

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  8. Hey Pal---glad to welcome you back. I missed your writing cause I see "more" of you when you blog and how gloriously God made you and how he blesses what you do. I see you constantly showcasing God and his powerful ways in your blogging.

    I know myself that I do not get to read everyday and then I try to jam many blogs into my head at once---but that is my issue. That is what I have to work on.

    See ya soon

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    1. Hey Buds, you're bringing tears to my eyes! Thank you for your affirmations ... you are a faithful friend who keeps on drawing me closer to our Savior. Where would I be without your support, your tough questions, and the deep times of conversation and prayer we share together?

      'I thank my God every time I remember you!' - Philippians 1:3.

      See you soon ...

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  9. Yes, welcome back, Linda. Your sabbatical sounds so wonderful--refreshing and restful. A beautiful way to enter Advent.

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    1. Duh ... it never even dawned on me that this time released and the lessons taught would lead me right into Advent. Thanks for this gem of wisdom that you've shared today, Laura ... you've led me right into one of those 'aha' moments.

      And yet why am I surprised? When I read your heart that's usually what ends up happening. Thanks for always drawing me closer to the One who owns this month ... and all our days.

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  10. Replies
    1. Yay! Didn't realize how much I missed this!

      ;-}

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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