This is the natural question people ask me these days. Since I haven’t been around Suncrest, it’s mostly family, neighbors, and a few friends. There is no single answer to the question, so I’ve noticed my answers have a few different themes. Here’s a good sample of those.
How’s your sabbatical?
1. “I don’t know yet.” I’m just over 2 weeks in to a 13 week journey. Everything has been really good so far (see below), but by design the 1st half of the sabbatical is full of adventure/unique experiences and the 2nd half is structured for quietness.
2. “I still can’t believe it.” The gratitude for this opportunity is still what captures me most. I still pinch myself that I get to do this with the encouragement of our elders, an amazing staff that carries the load, and the generosity of the Lilly Endowment. This whole experience has created an even deeper desire to be generous myself as I see the difference it has made for me.
3. “It’s weird. A good weird…but still weird.” The freedom of schedule is the most odd thing to me. My normal life/ministry is extraordinarily structured out of necessity and for efficiency. I start every week knowing what has to happen to be effective and deal with interruptions along the way. I’ve had much travel already, so I’ve only experienced this a few days, but I know there is more to come and I’m working on the right balance of pro-active structure (which I need) and letting the days come to me.
4. “I’ve had rich conversations.” My guiding theme for the summer is to explore the nature of “transformation”. Basically…How do people really experience growth/change their lives? Lasting change? Substantial Change? Why is there much frustration around this? I’ve had some very direct conversations about this. Mostly I’ve just enjoyed having regular conversations, but listening with this in mind. I know God has given me at least one “Divine Conversation” with a man I never expected to meet in Myanmar that I think will shape my thought on this for the rest of my life. Looking forward to many more of these…
5. “It’s been amazing already!” I took almost the full day to celebrate my daughter’s 8th birthday yesterday. I never take Father’s Day weekend off from church, but last weekend we went to our hometown and took both my dad and Jenny’s dad out for celebration. Obviously our huge trip was to visit Johnny & Janelle Knox in Myanmar (with very cool long layovers in Paris and Bangkok). That trip will get its own post sometime soon. Lots of pictures. Amazing work. I can’t wait to tell you more.
This Sunday, our whole family leaves for a 3 week trip to Liberia (with another long layover – in London this time). I’m sure my answers to “How’s the sabbatical” will be re-shaped. Pray for us…as I pray for you.